Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Long lunches

It’s widely known (and by now certainly a BORING topic) that I just came back from vacation.

Now, to be fair to me, because nobody else gives a rats ass, my “vacation” consisted of cleaning house, painting house, steam cleaning house carpets, moving every damn stick of furniture in the house... all in preparation for the party for my sons graduation.

To top that off... I was lucky enough to move my (wonderful and loving) in-laws to their new lake condo.

So... vacation? Really? REALLY??!!

Coming back to work is more like a vacation.

And, to tell the truth, I am taking it pretty easy this week. I need a break. (heehee)

Taking some long lunches.

Stretching out and reading some good books whilst I eat my favorite foods.

Unfortunately, no martinis or beers.

But, also whilst I sit and eat I also sit and think and I got to thinking about the concept of the long lunch.

Do you know where the idea first began?

Well, I am glad you asked. Oh wait, I asked... yeah, so never mind that I asked. Pretend you asked.

The word “lunch” is a shortened version of the word “lunchentach”, a shorter meal inserted between more substantial meals.

And you know it kind of makes sense that we would shorten that long ass word “lunchentach” into an easier to say word like lunch, because lunch itself is a short meal so why the hell did we ever make such a long word for it?

The Germans had a better idea. Call it “nuncheontach”, or non-lunchentach, non-lunch, and they had what they called a “noon draught” with some bread. Now THAT’S what I call a lunch. Beer and pretzels at a local pub. Mmm...

What the hell was I writing about again?

Oh yeah... long lunches.

As writers, we have the luxury AND the burden of working to our own time. No clock to punch, no boss hanging over our shoulders telling us to be better.

But is that ALWAYS a good thing?

I mean, sure you can take a long lunch because you have no boss, and long lunches are cool, but time is money, right?

And, when working on your own time means the difference between eating and well, STARVING... I start to think I better work a little more.

Cuz I likes me food.

A lot.

Now don’t start yelling at me and saying things like “I can do whatever I want! I’m my own boss! And anyway Paul said just the other day that it’s good to take time off and eat and sleep and be happy and how the hell can I be happy if all I do is workworkwork! Jack Nicholson went crazy in that damn movie when all he did was work all the time! It makes Jack a very dull boy with a very sharp axe!”

Right. I did say that. Sort of.

The key to what I am saying now is this: time management.

See, it works the same on both sides of this coin.

Yes, you MUST take time to rest and eat and sharpen the saw (axe).

And, YES, you must take time to organize and prioritize your work to maximize your potential output.

“But Paul... this sounds like WORK! I became a writer so I wouldn’t have to work! Whaaaa!”

Stop it, you big baby.

Do you want to be a writer? Do you really, really, really, want to be a successful writer?

Then it takes work. A lot of work.

And NO... or well at least very FEW long lunches.

Sorry folks, but that’s the way it is.

“But how Paul? How do I get like that? How do I become a good little worker and be my own boss and not sit around all day watching “Yes, dear” reruns and eating spicy nachos with extra jalapenos?”

Sigh. I thought you’d never ask.

No, wait... I knew you would ask. Eventually.

I am going to let you in on a secret that I am not supposed to share. This is the penultimate-truth-of-all-truths-that-only-accomplished-and-successful-writers-are-to-know. This is the key to the executive washroom. If I tell you I run the real risk that all the other writers who are in the know will come after me with torches and pitchforks and string me up on that big pole in the public square of Writer Town and burn me until I am as crispy as KFC chicken.

So, you have to promise to keep this all TOP SECRET.

Can’t tell anyone, ok?


Cross your heart and hope to die, stick a finger in your eye?

Ok... here goes.


To become a successful writer, you gotta want it. Really really want it. And nothing will stop you until you get it.

Now, copy that into your clipboard, paste it into a new Word doc or reasonable facsimile, change the font size to about 100, make it bold, underline it, italicize it, change the page layout to landscape, and print that bad ass mo-fo and tack it on your wall above your monitor so you can read it every damn day.

You can colorize too, if you’d like. Make it purrttee.

Do it.

I am serious.

And, if you are not a writer, then delete that word and insert whatever thing it is that you want to be. Artist, lumberjack, professional beer taster, fart smeller... whatever.

Because that’s it. Seriously. That’s really it.

Now, I can hear footsteps on the porch outside and I see a weirdly flickering light on the walls. I think the Brotherhood of the Writers Secret to Success is here to have a word with me.

Did you tell someone the secret?

Damn you! Foiled again!

Been nice knowing you.

Good luck with all your future endeavors.


  1. When you open with German beer and pretzels.... It is difficult to focus on therest of the conversation!

  2. It's a distraction, I know. But I had to forge the path... intrepid leader, and all that. Somebody's gotta do the heavy lifting, be it twelve ounces or any other weight.