Friday, August 17, 2018

Sitzfleisch, continued.

Many years ago, my therapist of a quarter-of-a-century suggested I see another therapist.

Not because he was done with me, or sick of me (it's not unusual for people to get sick of me) but as a second pair of eyes, an outside perspective to see if we were on the right track.

We had a famously-expensive double session in an Upper East Side office that looked more Vienna than Manhattan. That was fine with me. I am never happier than when I am talking to wise old men in a roomful of wise old books.

My temporary therapist taught me a word: Sitzfleisch. It's a word--it's German and it literally means, Sit Flesh, figuratively it's the ability to sit on your ass and persevere, to see things through, to get the job done. 

The opposite of Sitzfleisch is the Yiddish, schpilkas. Which can be best translated as having ants in your pants.

This week up in Provincetown at my writers' workshop (is it writer's or writers'?) has shown me the power of my Sitzfleisch.

In the past ten years, I have written--not for my job, but for my writing--about one-million words. Not all of them are great words, but the accumulation, the work, the day-in-and-day-out-ness has helped me become both a better writer and a better person.


I notice after class, or even after a meeting at work, everyone rushes off to their next thing. I usually need ten minutes or twenty of thought and reflection, of writing, to make sense of where I just was.

We are all, always, in such a rush. 

I'm 97.3% sure that's not a good thing.

We are all always, like addicts, looking for our next high. 

I know that's not a good thing.

Think, maybe once in a while, of where you are and what you can get out of your presence if you're really present.

Maybe you should focus on the ad in front of you, or the story, or the job, instead of rushing off to the next one.

Maybe 20 extra minutes, or the ontological equivalent--Sitzfleisch--will make all the difference.

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