Penultimate. A strange word that doesn’t fit a writer’s day-to-day activities. When I think of P-words, I begin with procrastination, shift to progress, and end with publish. Other P-words like paper, pen, and phrase leave a positive trail to paragraph, page, and print even if they eventually disappear like Hansel’s and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. Penultimate sounds like a harsh ultimatum when a dogmatic person says, “I laid down the law and they obeyed.” The true meaning of penultimate, an adjective, is the second to last issue of a publication.
Don’t worry. That isn’t applicable to my blog. I’ve resigned from a volunteer position as newsletter editor for a nonprofit writing group where May will be my penultimate issue of that publication. I’m also stepping down from several other volunteer activities to get back to writing. Until July, I hope you’ll enjoy my brief vibes, updated blog reposts, and short, short stories.
He visits me every day, this unwelcome guest. He slips in unnoticed after I brew morning coffee. He peeks over my shoulder as I immerse myself in the news. (Got to keep up with current events, right?) Sometimes he appears midday while I pay bills online. He loiters in afternoons when I settle in my recliner to read a current mystery (have to keep up with the latest crime fiction trends).
Take the day he accompanied me to several stops on the way home from the dentist eleven miles away (one trip to conserve fuel). I returned home hours later, all energy expended. I microwaved leftovers for dinner to hurry on to more important things (like writing a blog post).
First, I checked my phone and email and responded to a dozen messages followed by a chat with a friend (required business and social networking). I critiqued a short story for another writer (reciprocation).
A tea break (soothing change of pace), then I searched though a stack of get well cards for the right messages to fit a couple of sick friends (have to mail tomorrow before they get better).
My head nodded and my eyes closed. I scratched through the date next to Post Blog, the first item on my Wednesday to-do list, and wrote Thursday.
Procrastination, disguised as productive activity, had stolen my day.