This is going to be a little embarrassing.
The image above is a schedule I made for myself when I was very young. I’m thinking junior-high age but I’m not sure. I obviously had a lot on my plate back then. And a lot of ambition. Since then I’ve at least learned to draw a straight line.
After I got home from school, I gave myself some time to rest. A half hour. Then some hoops. I guess I was health-conscious even back then. Home in time for supper, then help with the dishes. An hour and a half for homework. I tried to be a good student.
Practice Instruments. I was in the band. A trumpet player. I was probably working on “Flight of the Bumblebee” for band auditions. Seriously. But no, I never learned it and was never better than third chair. I was probably practicing the guitar, too, working on the same three chords I still play today. Hey there Little Red Riding Hood… Only some of you will get that reference.
And then at 9:00, the magic happened.
I’ve always been an unrealistic dreamer and I had so much I wanted to do, I carved out time every night to work on what my mother called hairbrained ideas, as is in What hairbrained idea are working on now? It wasn’t how it sounds. She really was encouraging. But heck, at one point I wanted to make my own laser. This was decades before you could go to a dollar store and buy a laser pointer. And I wasn’t the Sheldon Cooper type. There was no way I’d ever make a laser. I made snow skis once, complete with old belts screwed to boards to serve as bindings. Then there was the space trip I took in our basement. Another story for another day. If nothing else, I was good for a laugh around the dinner table.
These days my hairbrained ideas are only slightly more sophisticated. I thought if I really tried, I could learn “Classical Gas” on the guitar. I thought I could teach myself Chinese, but after 90 lessons, I can barely order a cup of tea. Then there’s this whole writing thing.
Four finished novels; none published.
The schedule is still on the door of my childhood home where my father lives. I mentioned it to him today and he didn’t realize it was still there. (I wonder if he remembers the time I covered the ceiling of my room with aluminum foil?)
I still work by schedules and have pretty good self-discipline. And I’ll always be that unrealistic dreamer. I’ll always have hairbrained ideas.
I’ve got a concept for my fifth novel. Dreams die hard.
P.S. If you look closely, you’ll see different handwriting in the time slots. Call Susie. A girlfriend added that years after I posted the original schedule. It speaks to the challenge of living in the real world, where schedules and plans are sometimes pure folly.
April 3, 2016 at 8:04 pm
Keep working on Classical Gas. That is definitely achievable.
April 3, 2016 at 8:06 pm
Joe tried to teach me once. Not achievable for me.
April 3, 2016 at 8:19 pm
Don’t give up.
April 3, 2016 at 8:35 pm
I built a boat once and tried to sail it in the creek at the top of Helene St., before there were houses. “Tried” is the operative word. The S.S.Scot sank quickly. Never ever would I try to write a novel, though. Even after reading your previous post.
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April 3, 2016 at 10:16 pm
We should have teamed up when we were kids.
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April 3, 2016 at 10:55 pm
Yep. Could have done a mash up of Red Riding Hood and House of the Rising Sun.
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April 3, 2016 at 9:28 pm
Great story! Look forward to hearing about the foil on your ceiling! Tell Gloria I said hi?
April 3, 2016 at 10:01 pm
Will do. Good to hear from you, April.
April 3, 2016 at 9:42 pm
Joe, when I first saw the title of your thing today, hair brained ideas, I couldn’t read it right away. So I went on to explain it to Hope and Robert. Then when I read it later, you wrote almost exactly the same memories I had about it. The skis and spaceship. I had a good laugh. You really are a great writer! I’m enjoying your book too.
April 3, 2016 at 10:03 pm
Thanks, Sarah. Hope your crazy brother isn’t too embarrassing.
April 6, 2016 at 1:19 pm
This truly made me laugh.
We all need to make time for a hairbrained idea or two. 🙂
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January 30, 2020 at 8:41 am
Wonderful post! I enjoyed reading about the teenage Joe. 🙂