Whenever work is slow, or work is too much, or I don't feel like thinking about it, I turn to another kind of fake work. That's the business of shrinking down my magazine pile. Strangely, there are times when getting this pile down to a manageable size feels like an accomplishment, as if I've achieved something meaningful. I can't even shake this feeling if I tried.
Because the periodicals in question are always sitting in a haphazard pile on my coffee table, they are staring me down all time, mocking me, imploring me to do something about them. But I would never - never! - just toss a magazine away just because it's been sitting there for, oh, six months or so. It simply has to be read.
So every once in a while, I will summon the courage to pull that pile in front of me and begin to wade through the Yangtze of print. This will take me days, weeks sometimes. But those New Yorkers will be read whether they like it or not.
Soon, the pile shrinks, like a bad tumor. This makes me feel good about myself, as if something meaningful has been accomplished. How silly of me. There's the table top - it's been there all along, apparently - and the mags are in the recycle bin. Then it starts all over again. What's the point?