I’m Busy Curating My Life

I’m Busy Curating My Life A Fictional Functional Family

Being busy has become a badge of honour. Driven by the hustle of emails, texting, twitter and all manner of marketing hype busy is the new black. To be seen not being busy has become the one of the great modern sins. Sloth was on the old list. Sloth conjures upper an almost stationary state in which doing anything at all is too much to even contemplate. This has been replaced with not being busy. To sit under a tree and watch the sky is no longer enough. There needs to be some form of busy involved or otherwise you are simply idling. Where are the outcomes, the productivity gains, the response to the bottom line? Of course at that moment the bottom line might be a cloud on the horizon that may, or may not, be shaped like a chicken and you might be totally engaged with charting its progress across the sky.

There is being busy and the appearance of being busy. Urban myth No. 504 cites the office worker leaving a coat draped over the chair, creating the impression that they are away doing something important when in fact they have gone to the pub. Myth No. 506 - the worker who sits at their desk eating a hurried lunch is a sign that the new busy is more demanding than the old busy and, rehashing an old hash - if a person is busy and nobody sees how busy they are how will anybody know they are busy?

The person who does not appear to be busy may be in fact be internally occupied with the complex task of curating their life. The term is usually associated with art – the cataloguing, care and display of artefacts for display and exhibition. Now it seems we can all make exhibitions of ourselves and anybody can be a curator. The fashion industry now talks about curating jeans. Music festivals are curated by famous musicians. They do not arrange these things or organise the programme – no – they curate these things.

The dictionary says a curator (from Latin: curare meaning "take care") is a manager or overseer. If this high-brow term can be used to describe stacking jeans in a high street boutique then I feel relaxed about appropriating it to describe what I am doing when I sit in my office at home looking out the window. I am curating my life. I am assembling a collection of thoughts, feelings, experiences and trying to make some sense of them in order to write something. (This column was intensely curated over a long cup of coffee) So far this curating process as thrown up many ideas most of which will remain scribbles in a notebook but at some point in the future I will read them again and wonder what on earth I was thinking at the time.

Once I have reached my word limit I will look out the window, watch Sgt. Pepper the cat wash his face and wonder if felines have a dominate paw and can only wash in one direction. It may look like I’m not busy but that’s because I am curating my life.

Terry Sarten is a Whanganui based writer, musician and collector of abandoned and homeless ideas. Feedback: tgs@inspire.net.nz or www.telsarten.com/

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