It’s 2011 and I’m still lazy.

David Mamet, in his 1996 collection of “Essays and Remembrances”, Make-Believe Town:

david mamet make-believe town

Writing, in my experience, consists of long periods of hanging out, punctuated by the fugue of remorse at the loss of one’s powers and wonder at occasional output in spite of that loss.

I hear, as do we all, of those people who spend eight to ten hours a day at their typewriters, and I think, has no one told them of the Nap?

I’m on “sabbatical”, which is what my employers and I agreed to call the six-month unpaid leave I negotiated in order to concentrate, I claimed, on “projects of my own”, which have so far amounted to four weeks of fuck all.

For the last few years I’ve been telling myself and my friends that when I was again free of the obligation to stare at a laptop screen for eight hours a day in the service of commerce, I would again have the energy to create: to make music, to write scripts, to craft animated short films. But I have no energy, none. Like David Mamet, I nap, I hang out, I regret the loss of my powers. But in contrast with Mamet, my inactivity has yet to be justified by the slightest manifestation of genius.

Last weekend I attended an opening at the Mendel Art Gallery and ran into an acquaintance, Andrei Feheregyhazi, a local filmmaker and animator of increasing renown. He described how in addition to his full-time day job he devotes four or five hours every evening, and twelve hours on Saturdays and Sundays, to working on his own projects.

I can’t imagine ever being that ambitious. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a chemical or hormonal imbalance that makes me incapable of working as hard as Andrei and people like him. Perhaps I’m just not getting enough protein, or zinc, or omega-3 fatty acids. A friend browbeat me into joining him at the gym three times a week, promising that it would boost my energy level, but after almost a month it has only left me more exhausted. I return from the gym around noon and crawl into bed for an hour or two.

It would be convenient to blame my inertness on a deficiency of nutrition or brain chemistry, but the plain fact is I’m lazy. Perhaps someday, by some chance, I’ll discover a mantra or a magic compound or a psychiatric cure that will restore me to vitality, but in the meantime I must overcome my laziness through old-fashioned dragging-my-ass-out-of-it.


PS. Check out Andrei Feheregyhazi’s animated short films.

Update, July 27, 2020: Added cover image and linked to Bibliography page.

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Michael A. Charles is a writer, animator, and musician currently living in the Vancouver area. He used to be the singer and guitarist for the band known as Sea Water Bliss.

You can find a selection of his cartoons, music videos, and ads on the Gallery page.

Michael isn't on LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter and won't be on whatever comes along next. If you need to reach him here's his contact info.

Garson Hampfield, Crossword Inker