It would seem best to take the list of things, the bullet points, that the editor wrote and address them one by one and cross them off as he goes. That way, he would know where he is, what is left to be done, and most importantly, will know that he’s done when he’s done.
Listening to music helped in the past. As only half of whales’ brains fall asleep, since the sea is not a bed, so is it better for only half of his brain to be awake, because this work is not more easily done while entirely awake.
It would seem best to make of a list of things to do each day, including (especially!) the banal things that he always seems to forget to do. It would start with a time to wake, some early exercise (a run and then some sit-ups seems a good way to start), shower, breakfast and a certain number of newspapers (not all of them – only the essential ones) and then dressing and heading into his office. It would detail the work to be done each day and the time periods during which he would do each element of it, as well as time for reading. He wouldn’t list times to smoke, though that might help too, but he would list lunch and where to obtain it. It would end with writing a list for the next day, checking the list for the time that he is to wake the next day, setting the alarm on his phone for the time that he is to wake the next day, and then going to sleep.
New forms of semi-synchronous communication are invented and then adopted only to make things worse.
Teach the child to follow rules that are suspended on a promise of reward and punishment, I mean teach him to really follow those rules, and the child will likely grow into a man who still follows rules despite the fact that the structures of reward and punishment have changed but then, if something happens, and the structures of reward and punishment recede or disappear entirely, the child, now long since a man, will lose the track of the rules and reward and punishment and only be able to simulate vaguely the motions of obedience, self-protection, and self-promotion. Like the proverbial chicken less her head, like the robot that’s been dismembered in the movie, the unemployed pater familias who nonetheless besuitedly drives down the driveway each morning on his way to nowhere – his limbs twitch reflexively but the concertedness is not there. The cohesion of forward, purposeful movement is missing.
It’s nothing like the intimate, infinite negotiations with god during puberty. This is something else entirely.
A basic absence of a certain creative or at least chaotic element in his make up that might be necessary in order to fulfill certain aspirations, like the creation of artistic works or falling in love. His own dawning sense (when?) of the basic absence of those elements or faculties. Dumb notions that they can be externally triggered. The possibility that the desire to fulfill those aspirations (that is to say, the fact that they are aspirations at all) is perversely though not-unsurprisingly given what we know fueled by his very sense of the impossibility of fulfilling them due to the fact that his is missing certain faculties. Above all, the haunting sense that those faculties are possessed by no one anywhere and that they are just a comforting / explicatory myth that people have repeated and in repeating endorsed over the many years of human existence.
A dull cough. Sputum. A buzzing numbness all over that he used to feel was anxiety but now worries is a blood sugar level issue but on the other hand he is continually unsure of whether he hasn’t always in fact felt this buzzing numbness and just attributed it to something else. Things like hypocritical rage at his situation, other people, etc.
Phrases occur. “Like a football player with amazing straight-ahead speed but who lumbers laterally…” A pleasure in phrase making coupled with a disappointment at himself as these aren’t the phrases that he is supposed to be making. But pleasure enough to keep making them, especially when they stack like the dummy text, the pig latin, that lines the boxes where you put the corrected copy.
And then of course there is history. The drama of subjectivation (historical, personal). The sons burning the father to the ground again and again and again and the totem pole too but only this time getting it right in the aftermath. Learning to divide the sisters and mothers up logically, in accordance with sort preternaturally sophisticated system of eugenics that some now call attraction. Also book learning and savings accounts. Ships that leave the port and actually return again, a few years later, filled with different things. The sons draw up a train schedule, build a garden suburb, play in a local adult basketball league.
Once a month the sons go to the pub and – only in jest, never for serious or keeps – hit on the girls and mothers that are left, the ones they forgot to divide or held out just for the sake of keeping the old rituals alive.