The issue, we decided last night, was finding a technology whereby to make life in Maringouin consistently bearable enough so as to be able to consistently work. The problem is the amount of energy that goes toward making things bearable, and the fact that efforts in this regard do not produce a reliable enough result. There is always something or someone who throws things off … and we are competent, adaptable people who have not had this problem before.
The problem is you, not the environment, we have heard, and we have tried that on. We should be able to be happy anywhere, especially if we have our work. But even if this made sense, even if we as beings were this ethereal, one of Maringouin’s problems, precisely, is that we do not have our work (although we are alleged to have it, which makes things yet more vertiginous).
I have said this before but one failing in my technologies of improvement is that I design very ambitious programs for living. I will live as I lived there, or there, modifying for here, I promise the world … and I am asking too much of myself. The other failing is having listened to too much academic advice from undisciplined people, who are trying to learn discipline and are therefore on a kind of diet with space and time. One is told one must become yet more monastic, when really what one needs is to increase pleasure.
What I can do in this regard is to have in mind a grand design, perhaps, but not to focus on it but rather, on to very small goals — research first, even if it is only for half an hour. Exercise next, again even if it is only for half an hour. More of both can be done later, but the tone must be set. Stand in my own authority on everything. Quit at the same time each evening and do something entertaining and relaxing. Go to sleep early.
I would like to be gone every weekend as some people are but I cannot afford it. Something I could benefit from scheduling strictly, is in fact time elsewhere. The orientation that helps me get more done is not discipline, organization, renunciation — I have enough of these — but pleasure and the importance of feeding your head with the intellectual and artistic delights that in fact make one the person one is expected, even paid to be.