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By Billy | September 9, 2011

I built a banjo once. Twice, actually. Neither of them were good. The first time was relatively inspiring, and the second time was absolutely heartbreaking. I have decided to never ever embark on a big project ever again. It’s so discouraging and frustrating and time wasting and blah blah blah et cetera.
No, instead, I will adapt. This banjo fiasco has taught me to stop trying so big and so focused on a goal at the end of the day. When I finished my piece of junk banjo (hyperbole) I realized I needed a way to self soothe.
I baked bread yesterday. I will bake the exact same 4-ingredient bread today with a very minor change in execution in the hopes of baking the perfect bread. I have never been one to self-soothe with cleaning or baking or watching my favorite movie or even binging on chocolate. In fact, I don’t know if I can really identify a way that I have found to make myself feel better. Usually I’ve just found a way to make myself feel nothing. That don’t help much.
I have a bread project now. It is completely sans-goals. It is completely open ended. There is no way to fail at it. My goal is to try to make bread very often.
I am good at setting goals. I’m actually pretty decent at reaching goals to some extent. The problem seems to be that the last 20% of whatever goal I really want is never put together very nicely. I just get so excited about the end that I give up on it all. This project is different.
My Aunt told me once that you are something like 70% more likely to reach a goal if you write it down. So, of course, the thing I did that day was to write down, “Goal: Write down all my goals.” That means I have a 70% chance of reaching my goals 7 out of 10 times. Pretty good.
As it turns out, I have taken up the habit of writing for 30 minutes every morning — and in those minutes comes out a lot of goals. Petty and gradiose, good and bad, healthy and unhealthy. I probably write down every goal that I think of now. I apparently fell on the happier side of that 70% with the goal I mentioned earlier. Well another thing that helps me accomplish my goals is that at night, I keep track of whether or not I took a measurable step towards accomplishing my goal. I want to do sit ups, pull ups, and breathing meditation every day, so in my night-journal, the first line is dedicated to writing the time, date, location, then how many sit ups, pull ups, and breaths of breathing meditation I do every day. If I skip a day, it’s not that big of a deal, but I have to look at the 000/00/00 at the top of the page and it burns into my brain while I write. If I write 000/00/00 for 3 days in a row, you can be sure I’m either very ill or that I’m going to do my sit ups the next day. I just added pull-ups last month, so it was quite often that the page would look like 100/40/0. I didn’t allow myself to be frustrated or angry, just notice it. That 0 appears less and less often now.

Well last night I wrote 100/40/9/BREAD. I intend on listing bread/no bread with every night. That’s all. We buy bread every other day, so it’s not ridiculous for me to make it, instead, every other day. My goal in this is not to become an excellent bread baker, nor is it to have an excellent bread repertoire, it is to enjoy making bread. This goal is a promise to myself to continually do something that is productive and also to enjoy myself while I do it. It’s a little stressful to cook bread for me, since I’m always worried about doing it wrong, but I imagine soon it will be enjoyable and meditative. I have inklings of hopes that in the future I can make things like breads made from nuts, bread cooked over open fires, raw and vegan (and raw vegan) breads, or cook using a solar oven. Those aren’t goals, they’re acknowledgements of possibilities.

There is a distinct difference between Bread and building a banjo. My results are daily, my failures are extremely expectable, and my progress is notable. It’s my hope that someday I will learn to build a banjo the same way I am learning to make bread. I hope to be able to cut fretslots, install truss rods, grind cow bones into neck nuts, etc., with a meditative, grand scheme/small task balanced, simplistic pleasure throughout the whole project. For now, I need to learn to complete small taskts 100% of the way, and enjoy it for the whole time. I suspect that the 80% problem I have has to do with focusing on the last 20% or even the whole 100% instead of looking at the 1% that I am currently working on.

So. Today I made Eggs in a Basket, with a home made basket of bread I baked yesterday.

Mine didn't look like this

That also didn’t turn out perfect, but I ate it and could not complain. It was no where near as pretty as V makes it in V for Vendetta.

Also, I’ve been thinking of using this blog to collect all the annoying things I’d post every 10 seconds on facebook so, look at the stuff I leave at the end.

I didn’t dig Ani til I heard her say “Fuck you.”

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