Through the years I have become well read on the topic of procrastination and have seen the benefits of my studies. This specific area of knowledge pops up in these three flash fictions.
No Weeds Pulled
On Monday she realizes it is her turn to weed in the community garden. Really this is much effort with little reward, she struggles to remember why she volunteered. Tuesday she’s told by another gardener that she must pick her weeds and dispose of them, not leave them lying on the ground. She’s been singled out for this abuse. On Wednesday she longs for a partner from the community, not that mean fellow but someone to work along beside her. They could visit. Thursday, she views the many rows and sighs. It’s too much and she’s so tired. By Friday she’s not sure she knows which are weeds, she really doesn’t know how to proceed. Saturday’s thinking centers on her fear of failure, if she’s the one that has destroyed the garden, she’ll die. Now it’s Sunday. She’d weed and do a good job of it too, but really, she is afraid of success and the position becoming permanent.
Author notes: it’s painfully obvious that the gardener in my story No Weeds Pulled, is procrastinating. The story structure form use of the days of the week provides a platform for her thinking errors but also portrays the sneaky way that procrastination works.
She reads about the smooth transition between mental activity and physical activity. Reading is more cerebral than action based, but in her defense, she is figuring things out. A procrastinator needs to have a plan of action. She’s working on that.
The phone rings and the caller wonders what she is doing. She can’t answer, because to say she was planning would lead to questions she might not be able to answer, so instead, she says she was reading a book.
“Good. You have time to help me clean out my garage. I’ve put it off long enough.”
She says yes, after all, this request came smoothly and she wasn’t really doing anything.
Oh. That’s so true.
Author notes: when she says ‘all cerebral and no action.’ the story’s point is made. The starting sentence orients the reader to a specific idea about procrastination and the rest of the story expands on this.
Then there is the right plan, and the right help and nothing should stop you now but there are always…
It’s best that I not criticize or complain but my so-called friend complicated things. The idea was to make my business run smoother and help me get things done efficiently. That’s where I needed help. This friend shows me a routine for accounting; he sets up a spread sheet, creates a billing system. Then because he believes that nothing should be a single-use item, he shows me some option concerning online marketing. Afterwards he shows me several games I could ‘chill’ with.
Incredible. I’ve become more efficient, all right. I work my way through the game, I can’t stop. I’m at level eleven!
Author notes: this flash story form is one I use often – best laid plans gone astray. The objective of the protagonist is plainly stated at the story start and the results are similarly ‘named’ for the sake of clarity. The protagonist has discovered that getting sidetracked is procrastinating at full speed. ▪
Liz Betz is a retired rancher who loves to write fiction. Her pastime seems to help her days go by, her brain to stay active and sometimes keeps her out of trouble. An overactive imagination is a wonderful thing to harness, but left alone…Her publication credits are many and varied as she explores the fictional world of mostly somewhat older but not necessarily mature characters.
Opal Writers Magazine