“Slowly I Turned”: Eustress, You Say?

Eustress, You Say?


I’m told there are two different kinds of stress, one healthy and one unhealthy. At the moment, I can’t really see a difference between the two. Anyone who has been following this blog (or any of my various Internet efforts, for that matter) knows that my newest book, Makkarios: Come Together, has entered a promotional giveaway for the last five days of January. So far (as of half past seven in the evening of Saturday the 28th) four hundred and twenty-three people have downloaded the free e-book.


This whole situation has left me in an odd position. This project is, in my opinion, some of the best work I’ve done so far. I surprise myself by how eager I am to introduce it to as many people as possible. But at the same time, the prospect of letting myself in for so much potential rejection makes me cringe. Funny, isn’t it?


Psychiatric types would call this “eustress,” because it’s a healthy situation, yet it has the same effect on my writing that “distress” has. In short, I can’t write. I have a project going right now that I really like, with interesting (read: odd) characters and a fair measure of humor in it. I have most of the story line planned in varying levels of details. All that remains is to write.


So what have I done today? I got my hair cut. I went grocery shopping. I talked to my father on the phone. I played computer games. I worked out. I watched Spirited Away again. I washed dishes. I worked on my Sunday school lesson. I poached an egg. (Regarding the egg: it was my first attempt. The results can be summed up in one word: gruesome. But it tasted fine.) Everything, in short, seemed easier or more urgent than writing. And now that evening is well underway, I’m left haunted by a restless dissatisfaction, because I fit so much that was unnecessary into my day at the expense of what I really wanted to do.


Ah, but most of it really was necessary. The haircut, for instance, was really more a public service than a luxury. I hadn’t had a chat with Dad for several days. It’s nice to have food in the house again. And if I’m to make Eggs Benedict for my sister’s birthday meal, then it is essential that I figure out how to poach an egg without making the diners go into dry heaves at the mere sight of it.


I guess the problem is, I hate the thought that I have wasted even one hour given to me. I hate the thought that I would be so weak-willed as to trade what I really want for something that doesn’t interest me all that much, just because of something like stress. Rest is good. Rest, however, comes when I do what I know I’m made to do, what I love to do. As they say, it isn’t work if you love it so much that it’s always somewhere at the back of every thought.


Tomorrow’s another day. And if it isn’t, then none of this will matter anyhow, so I’ve just got to let it rest. Mm, rest sounds good. One of these days, I expect I’ll figure out how to ride these waves instead of getting tossed end-over-end in the surf and coming up with a mouthful of sand.


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