Toby Laughing at a Joke for the First Time

He’d laughed before; he’d understood jokes before. And in late December of last year, for the very first time, he laughed at a joke:

Granted, I don’t fully understand what the joke was exactly. A minute before Emily started filming, Toby had put the rubber duck in his own mouth, then coughed and spit it out; so was the joke that I was imitating him? Or was it merely funny to watch Dad coughing up a duck over and over again?

In any event, I’m glad we had the camera nearby.

I’m also glad that I’m finally figuring out how to get videos off the camera and out into the world.

Something versus Nothing

I complained to Sean two years ago that I was, at the time, writing (or trying to write; or putting aside time to write—however you want to put it) for only forty-five minutes a day. Sean replied that forty-five minutes is infinitely better than nothing.

It’s been a long time since I took math, but mathematically, I think he’s right. To put it another way: one word a day means a novel finished in two or three hundred years. No words a day means a novel finished never.

See also: “One Word a Day, Five Hundred Days,” by Rebecca Donnelly.

Also related, I think?: something I’ve quoted before: George Saunders’s end-of-the-workday, five-o’clock “half hour of writing before the bus came.”

And somehow this seems related?:

“I just don’t like writing… I’m not a compulsive writer, never was, never could be. I don’t need the bread any more. Let’s see—compulsion, money—those are the only two reasons to go through the hell of trying to fill 500 blank sheets of paper.”

But isn’t the third reason—the habit, the practice, the doing for its own sake—the only healthy motivation in the long term?

But I’d better stop there for today.