Proscrastination Blues

"I woke up this morning faced with a decision.With so much to do, I needed a vision. Make me some coffee, take out the dog, Way down on the list...write "A Deeper Look" blog. It's been 4 months since the last one I wrote. I've been putting it off like an overdue  thank you note...And I told myself Neal, here's the score:  Take a deeper look at your procrastination. And  don't procrastinate no more."

When I first entered the blogosphere it was like a new romance, and I was delighted at the opportunity to let my unconscious romp around the internet in the service of my highest professional values. I found stimulation in the news of the day, which triggered associations that I served up with enthusiasm. And what I brought to the table was generally well received, propelling me on at least one occasion into the double digit "like" category on Facebook.    Following my last entry, so many moons ago, I formulated great plans to start off 2012 with a series of blog entries on child development, intended to save the children, the planet, etc. before the world ends in accordance with some interpretations of  the Mayan calendar. Well, 2012 is almost 1/4 gone, and my output has been zero. So what happened?

There was so much business to take care of. First all those holidays, and then getting over the holidays,  and on top of that long hours at my day job, and on top of that  all this really mundane stuff like "go to dentist," organize basement, miscellaneous home repairs, do income tax, etc. .And on my "to do" list, "write blog" sank lower and lower. And the more time that elapsed, the larger the task became, so that writing a blog entry assumed the proportions of building a pyramid by myself- one handed. There you have it.....sort of.

But  there is just one more thing I neglected to mention. The truth. And the truth is, having arrived at the precipice of making a contribution to the betterment of America's children through my psychoanalytic blogging activities,  my attention turned to taking care of child number one- me.  And this child just didn't feel like working any more. This child wanted to play. Somehow, my blogging walk in the park had been transformed from free expression to obligation, from romance to just another committed  relationship in which I felt enslaved, from playtime to subjugation. . In other words, I had regressed to age 2 and turned you, dear reader, into the  mother of my toddlerhood.  And procrastination had been my way of saying NOOOO, YOU CAN'T MAKE ME, even though nobody was making me do anything except the mother in my head, who I had somehow projected onto you, dear reader, assuming you are still there, and have not abandoned me, as I feared my mother would when I got too boisterous for her to tolerate.

Psychoanalysts have a term for the mysterious way we tend to turn others into replicas of our parents, and model later relationships after early ones. We call it "transference." I believe this may be the first report of a mother transference to the blogosphere. Now It pains me to admit this.....I would rather have you think of me as a procrastinator than as a 2 year old. I would much prefer for you to think of me as a heroic  man who wants to save the children, as opposed to being one of the children that requires saving. So how about you think of me as both,  Mama? And tell Daddy to hit the road while you're at it, there's a new player in town ....Wait a minute, you're not my mama, I keep forgetting.

To flesh out this little exercise in self discovery, I just realized that I wrote my last entry shortly before the the anniversary of my mother's death, which marks the beginning of the holiday season and casts a shadow on what, in my childhood, was-if not  the most wonderful time of the year- at least pretty good. Perhaps procrastination was my way of remembering the times we had, the good and the bad, or a wish to bring her back so I could fight with her like I did in the old days.

If there is any central defining feature of what we mean by psychoanalysis, it's transference. It lurks everywhere, often hidden behind the other defining feature of psychoanalyis, what we call "resistance," the typically unconscious ways that we keep thoughts like the ones expressed above from the conscious mind, and thereby keep ourselves from the sometimes painful recognition that a good deal of the time we are re-living our childhood-or trying to. We can understand a lot by looking at the world in this way. Especially ourselves.

"I hope I was able to demonstrate  a way of looking at why I procrastinate,  and how  I discovered what I already know...You've got to know what you're holding before you can let it go. Lord Have Mercy."

Now it's time to save the children.



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  • I waited a bit before answering.... Maybe procrastination represents fear?

    If you don't let the 2-year old play, you might need counseling. So play away!

    The blogosphere is exactly where you left it. No, correction. The blogosphere, locally, has been the Blagosphere. Speaking of "transference"?

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    I've always been interested in the phenomenon by which something you initially love becomes "work." For me, it's happened with writing. But I'm not entirely sure it's to do with Big Momma. I think it's more to do with Big Mammon. i.e. the way the pursuit of money displaces our desire.

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