Every other year I need to stain our deck, but this year I have Deck Block. It’s like Writer’s Block but worse because my deck won’t rot away if I don’t write.
Yesterday I procrastinated prepping the deck by writing, walking the dogs, reading, washing dishes, going to a medical appointment, napping, and eating an ice cream cone. At four o’clock, I decided to clean out the gunk between the deck boards. For the first twenty minutes, I resented the chore. I almost went to the hardware store for deck wash. To the feed store for sunflower seeds. To Walmart for white-out. But the more debris I cleaned out of the cracks, the better I felt, so I kept excavating. It reminded me of writing a rough draft—the more words I put on paper, the better I feel and the more I write.
This morning I knew I should keep prepping the deck, but I went paddleboarding. Blue skies, no wind, pleasant temps—perfect for paddling. (And working on the deck, but that’s not how Deck Block works.)
While skimming the water, which resembled an old piece of rippled window glass, I thought about ways to expand a flash essay into a narrative essay. But, my prewriting-paddleboard session did nothing for the deck.
After paddleboarding, I ate a hot dog with pickles and ketchup, comfort food to conquer Deck Block. Then I promised myself a trip to Dairy Queen—but only if I spent a couple of hours prepping the deck first. I’m so very disciplined.
During the mindless, boring task of prepping the deck, I let my mind wander, free association therapy. But I kept my head away from the railings, which were full of cobwebs. I didn’t want to show up at Dairy Queen, looking like Miss Havisham.
Tomorrow paddleboarding, then power washing. For sure.