Entry 3: Dis·ci·pline
My writing process is painstakingly undisciplined: I walk around and say “I’m going to sit down and write! I’ll write an entry so perfect The New York Times will call and ship me to New York in a box for being such a genius.”
I open Word, look at the screen with the cursor blinking and realize my room is messy or that my mug is empty or that there’s an important soccer game and I should really look up the Times. Then, overwhelmed, I run outside.
Serene sunsets and puffy clouds, cool breezy winds touch my face and I relax a bit but then I get mad at the dumb scenery because it doesn’t inspire me.
Until, randomly, there it is! And idea so great I feel like punching someone in the face for it; but I’m for non-violence, so I don’t.
I run inside, sit, stare at Word looking with its dumb cursor blinking and I forget what I wanted to write about; I sigh and proceed to clean a mess that appeared when I decided to start writing. Yeah, inspiration isn’t reliable like luck isn’t reliable. But discipline is… so I hear.
In the Union I hear that word a lot, and in books on writing I read, “Discipline is more reliable than inspiration.” But no one said discipline is so hard to obtain.
Walking through life we make plans, we define goals, we fight for those goals and then something else comes up. If I told you that my life goal was to work for the UFW, I’d be lying. I wanted to go to grad school. I defined my plans, set a study schedule so rigorous that I would’ve kicked and cried and pushed myself to the library to stick to it. I never did.
Getting hired by the UFW was a mix of luck and hard work. I didn’t realize it until recently but all of those hours in the library yelling at Marx, Durkheim, and sociologists with crazy names actually paid off. It seemed hardest when I lost patience. And you can’t lose patience in this job. We’ve been going at it for 50 years and there are still farm workers being abused.
Time is slow, time is strange. Time is wiser than you and I as it moves in and out of our cells maturing our souls teaching us patience. I am impatient and am learning patience, but man learning takes too long to learn.
To be a farm worker, to be a student, to be a teacher, a poet, a person is to make a goal, a wish, and a desire so great that we’re crazy to even think it. And we work little by little to obtain that goal. We cross the rivers and deserts of our mind and go over or under the walls of our fears and insecurities.
As angry as I am with Marx for showing up in every sociology class, I have to agree with him — humans have a strong love and desire to produce things; be it a table or a nation. We love to build and to create with our hands.
We love to fight for something bigger that gives us meaning. To survive is not the goal; the goal is to do that which makes us smile, if even if we have to cry and kick our way into doing them.
“Joaquín Magón” is a youth reporter from Coachella living in Salinas and working for the United Farm Workers. He contributes blogs regularly for Coachella Unincorporated.