I love watching TV. It has at times been a distraction detrimental to my creative life and my brain in general.
I enjoy quality programming-the smart, intellectual non-network stuff. I like the comedy stuff. I like the thinky stuff.
But I love the trash.
Your Housewives. Your anything Bravo and Andy Cohen. Your VH1 reality and your HGTV. The TV equivalent of Swedish Fish where you can feel the sugary gumminess rotting your teeth as you chew, your jaw tired and strained but you keep popping the tangy wax into your face until they’re gone.
Here’s the red Swedish Fish of my TV watching: the paranormal.
All of the “did you hear that? What was that?” shows. The investigators stare vacantly into the dark void, their eyes wide with pin-prick Little Orphan Annie pupils while night vision cameras document their often fruitless searches, and I am riveted. I am desperate to be invited on a ghost hunt.
Give me a psychic show please. I want to watch people who only just signed a waver feign shock when a medium tells them she talks to the dead, and their subsequent emotional response when they feel they’ve connected to their dearly departed after being ambushed with vague suggestions - “who is the person who has passed from something having to do with their heart?”
I am in heaven.
But since having a kid, the TV is off. I believe Dr. Jenn Berman (of VH1’s “Couple’s Therapy”) when she says TV ruins kids’ brains. If I get the babe to sleep, make and eat dinner and relate to my husband before 10, I might get an hour of viewing in before I slip into a haven’t-slept-through-the-night-in-8-months coma.
My life is full. But I have days where all I want is to tune everything out, turn off my brain, hand my baby off and have an illicit afair with my former mistress. Just do nothing but watch my stories all day.
Swim with the Swedish Fishes.
My 5 1/2 month old used to be an expert sleeper-up until about 3 1/2 months. Life circumstances threw us all off schedule and out of our routine, and now we are repairing the damage.
Most parents confront sleep training some time in the first year of their baby’s life, and if they don’t, I don’t want to hear about it. Bully for them.
First you have to choose your method, and while doing so, you must weigh the advice and suggestions from friends and relatives, and then go with your gut based on what you know about someone who’s only been alive a few months and who is changing every day and going through growth spurts and sleep regression and teething, to name a few possible obstacles.
Once you’ve chosen your method, you must ignore the doubt and panic that sets in, suggesting you chose wrong. You must also, constantly, tune out the well-meaning advice of others who think you’re doing it wrong, and who find creative ways to tell you that.
You must memorize the relevant chapters of the book you’re using, so that at 4 in the morning you remember what to do when she roots to nurse and you’re counting backwards trying to determine if enough hours have passed since the last time you dropped strap, and you’ve left your notes in the other room and you forgot to look at the clock on the way in.
You must bury your self doubt beneath weeks of no sleep and loneliness and despair at seeing your sweet beloved cry because she’s even more tired and confused than are you.
The emotional, mental, physical and spiritual work is relentless, and the only reason you trudge through is because there is the hope and promise and evidence that this will work, and that you will, after some time, get a solid and restorative chunk of sleep.
You also trudge through because if you’re like me, you’ve never cared so much about a job, and never put so much of yourself, your time, your heart, your patience, your creativity, your stamina, your care, your earnestness into anything else you’ve tried.
And, moving forward, I will know which other jobs are worth any amount of this sacrifice, because I will weigh their worth in lost hours of sleep.
You know that relationship you left behind that was always extreme? You never knew what was going to happen next, it always kept you guessing. You loved the exhilarating highs because they balanced out the debilitating lows. At the time you called it passion. Now, looking back, it was just drama. You now much prefer life right down the middle and have realized that enduring those extremes was actually a choice you made all along and it seemed so exciting to be a part of it all.
That’s how I feel about having moved away from the “seasons” of New York.
I resigned from my job on Monday.
If you know me, this is a very, VERY big deal. I have been employed by Universal Music Group for over a decade working with all the major record labels (Island/Def Jam/Motown/Decca/Interscope/Geffen/A&M/Verve etc.) facilitating digital releases.
If you’ve read The Artist’s Way, I’ve been one of those creative people working behind the scenes in an uncreative capacity enabling other creatives to achieve their dreams.
I sense a flourishing coming.