Warning: graphic metaphor ahead.
I currently have the vivisected body of Part IV lying in front of me. (Figuratively speaking; I’m working with an electronic file, not one of my cover-the-floor-with-paper stunts.) I’ve sliced it open and gone to work moving things around: transplants for a few organs, repairs to others, a bit of experimental reconnection that I’m hoping will work. Generally, I feel good about the changes. Having it lying there all bloody is making me nervous, though, because this revision is due on the 17th, and I’d feel a lot better if I could stitch this part up and get it on its feet again, so it can walk around a bit and tell me if anything isn’t functioning the way it needs to.
I can’t, though, because it doesn’t have a liver. There was one before, but it never worked all that well — just well enough to pass — and I’m pretty sure it can’t handle the load the new transplants will place on it. And while a liver isn’t so vital of an organ that you’ll keel over on the spot if yours is kind of gimpy, it isn’t an appendix, either; we really want one that works. So I need a new liver, and I need it in the next week. And I can’t go stitching up the body until I have one, because I’d just have to cut it apart again to put the thing in, and besides, there’s stuff that needs the liver to run right. Which means I’m increasingly fretting about how much work it’ll take to stitch the body up again, and how frantically I’ll have to work to get that done once I have the damn liver.
Fretting, in case you were wondering, is not good for productivity.
There are other things I can work on, and I’m going to do those, so I don’t have to do them post-liver transplant. But it’s harder than usual to trust my usual work pattern — namely, that the idea will show up by the time I need it. Generally it does, and I know from experience that I’ll get better results if I relax and let the hindbrain do what it has to. Unfortunately, that doesn’t silence the little voice whispering but what will you do if it doesn’t . . . .
I’d feel a lot better if I just had the goddamned liver already.
Dear Brain: I’ve had a stressful year. Please don’t add to it any more than you have to. (And consider very carefully what goes on the “have to” list.)
Off to work, while I wait for the liver to arrive.