Thirty Seven

Thirty Seven

Thirty seven is an awesome number. I was going to say it was sexy, but that is not quite right. Prime numbers aren’t sexy. If numbers are analogous to vastly overgeneralized social categories of human beings, then prime numbers are the weirdos. Even numbers are all the regular people who present as normal in appearance and during casual conversation. Many of them wear ties. Odd numbers are the nearly half of the population who are just a bit off. After you and a coworker share an interaction with an odd number, you turn to each other, and one of you says, “okay, she was a little weird, right? I mean, it’s not just me?” You do this even though, statistically speaking, one of you is probably an odd number.

Prime numbers are the serious eccentrics. Prime numbers are the poets who live in basements and have wild untamed hair. They are the chefs who foam things that were never meant to be foamed. They are the people who often forget to put socks on in the morning because they spend all of their time trying to work out how to apply complexity theory to the three body problem of gravitation. Or, you know, how to apply complexity theory to choosing Hostess pies. Most eccentrics aren’t geniuses, after all. Most eccentrics are just weird.

There are interesting things about the number thirty seven other than the fact that it is the twelfth prime number. For example, it is the third of the cuban primes, and if you don’t know what cuban prime is I’m not sure you got out of bed this morning. It is also the temperature of the human body in Celsius, the most commonly chosen random number between one and one hundred,and the number of the only president ever to resign. Ever since the movie Clerks, it has become synonymous with…something or other.

It is also the next seven I plan to steal.

Specifically, thirty seven days. I have been disappointed at my low output on this blog. In some ways, this is a good thing. Lately, as soon as I achieve some kind of goal, I become dissatisfied with it and want to do something else. This should make me happy. It is a sign of Ambition. Being satisfied with what you have now never got anyone anything…other than peace and harmonious contentment with all things. But I have enough of that crap. Seriously, it’s piling up in the basement. If someone wants to take it off my hands, I’d be more than happy to unload it. See my ad on Craigslist.


The problem is that, as I’ve said before, my ambition gland is weak and underdeveloped. It produces insufficient amounts of getstuffdonease, a catalyst human beings need in order to…do something. I’m not sure, exactly. My Latin is a little rusty.

The point is that I am getting better and better at becoming disappointed at myself for achieving my last goal over and over, instead of moving on to a new one. I am, slowly, turning into one of those people who is always looking for the next taller mountain. That is something successful people do, I am told. The problem is, desiring the next goal was my last goal.

I continue to have trouble with actually setting the next goal.

So that is my next goal: set more goals. No, no, it isn’t. That’s too vague, and maybe sort of a tautology.

My real next goal is to post more blog content. Right now I am producing quite a bit of content, but I am rarely sufficiently satisfied with it to post it. This requires editing, and I don’t like to do editing because I am a person on Earth, and editing sucks. Also, I believe my standards are all out of whack. I once asked a professional writer at a SF convention how you know when something is actually done. That is, how do you know when to stop fiddling with something you have written and to just publish it. It is never going to be perfect, because we live in a universe without perfection. Eventually, you have to just accept it for what it is and put it out there. I hoped there was some trick, some technique that I just did not know about.

“That’s just a matter of experience,” said the writer. “There isn’t much more to it than that. It’s something you just have to learn by doing.”

The other members of the panel agreed. One the one hand, this was an annoying answer. I wanted there to be a simple trick. Of course I did. I am an American, and that is how we roll. I wanted a fish pill I could swallow once a day so I can forgo all that exhausting exercise and still avoid heart disease.

On the other hand, it was nice to have some confirmation that the question I asked did not have an easy answer. I have devoted a lot of thought to the issue over the years. It was gratifying to know I did not miss something obvious. It also made a powerful point about writing, as opposed to many other fields.

The difference between an chemist working in a high end laboratory and a beginning chemistry student is that the seasoned professional has a huge set of skills and knowledge the student has not yet learned. If a student attempted the sort of work the professional does on a daily basis, chances are that student would not even no where to start.

The main difference between an experienced professional writer and an aspiring amateur is that the professional has been doing it longer. That’s it. Oh, sure there are skills and knowledge the professional has that the amateur does not. But they are little things, things that make the process easier and better. The basic tool set is one that we all already have. You just need to practice.

This blog is a way for me to practice. It is a way for me to practice both writing and letting people read my work. If people like what they read, that’s great. If they don’t, well, at least I am getting the practice. Hopefully they will like the stuff I write later more. That’s the idea. No one is brilliant at their chosen craft right from the start, even the people that are.

That brings us back to thirty seven, and my intention to steal it. I’m sorry. I’m not making any excuses. I saw thirty seven in the shop window, and I just had to have it. Sure, there are guards, and security cameras, and one of those inexplicable roving laser grids that can only be bypassed if you impress them with back flips. Don’t sweat it. It’s all taken care of. I have a plan.

For the next thirty seven days I am going to post something on my blog every day. Some “blogging tips” sites say not to post every day, but their advice does not really apply to me. Also, they disagree with each other. One of the best things about the internet is that it is the best evidence humankind has ever generated that either A: reality is highly contradictory, or B: we really don’t have it figured out.

I think it’s both.

I love the idea of posting every day. I love the idea of doing it for thirty seven days. Goals are good. Thirty seven days of blog posts sounds like a lot, but I have had friends do similar but much crazier things. I love reading about projects people have for thirty or sixty or ninety days. Of course, there was no way I could live with myself if I picked a number as prosaic as thirty. I do not want my target number of days to wear a tie. I want it to forget to put on socks because it is thinking about complexity theory. But I would settle for pie, as long as it wasn’t Hostess.

Plus, thirty and sixty and ninety don’t even have sevens in them. That would just be a waste of my damn time.

This goal is pretty small, but it is mine. Or at least, it will be.

See you in thirty seven days.

(Actually, see you tomorrow. But the other one sounded better. It’s nice to go out on a good, tight line. I would hate seem all rambley. Like this does. This side bit. Right here. I’m sure glad this isn’t in the article!)


7 thoughts on “Thirty Seven

  1. amarllyis says:

    I love how you write. It’s so uncommon to come across a blog that is maintained for “writing” purposes. Most people just want an online diary or a place where they can write hundreds of lists or a vent. I am glad to have come across you. 🙂

    Wanna tell me about the experience?

    • Sorry it took me forever to respond! Sometimes I do that for no reason, even though I totally love this comment and have come back and read it many times. Anyway, thanks! I’d be glad to talk about it!

      • amarllyis says:

        🙂 Ah! That’s okay.

        So, how did you keep yourself motivated to go on?

      • Actually the goal itself was pretty much enough. It was sufficiently unambitious so that I knew I could handle it, which mean that I felt really dumb if I didn’t do it. I think that’s key, for us fundamentally unambitious people. It also helped that I had a friend who read every day, and I knew he’d mock me fiercely if I missed a day.

  2. Girl, (you are a girl, right?) you got me hooked on your writing in a snap! I am ecstatic about the short form and what you do to it!

    • I’m actually a guy, although in my defense I have the decency to feel bad about it. But in all seriousness, a lot of people make that mistake, probably because of my gender neutral name (although it’s the male spelling) and the fact that I write almost exclusively female protagonists. I think the writer part of me might secretly be a girl. Anyway, thank you so much!

      • Ha! That explains everything! I have to be honest: I found it hard to believe that your writing voice could be that of a girl. You write too well. No female writer had a similar effect on me. Besides, we are rarely able to deal with short form so masterfully. Glad you are a guy! No offence to females, though!!

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