devil can’t find my idle hands



Tessa with our incredible prop master Mathias today

It’s not often you get to see someone in their Absolute Perfect Milieu™, but this week, my wife is in hers. As director of this short film going 12-hour days, she may be tired, sunburned, frantic, harried and constantly polytasking – but she is also the apotheosis of happiness.

Truly, my wife is at her most content when there is too much to do. I’m probably at my most content in the synapse-firing beginning sequence of a Big Idea. How about you? Today’s question… What activity puts you in the most active state of bliss?

Besides orgasm, alcohol, drugs, and sleep, that is.


I caught her while eating, but this says it all

17 thoughts on “devil can’t find my idle hands

  1. Salem's Little Sister

    Coaching/teaching. Whether I’m coaching my Girls on the Run team or teaching horseback riding lessons, being in that space and sharing my passion with kids is my true bliss. I’m never better than when I’m in the ring or on the track.

  2. (Not So) Big Scott

    Having the ball in my hands and knowing that the person guarding me on the basketball court doesn’t have a prayer of keeping me from scoring. Sadly, I haven’t had that feeling in a while. I’m coming back, though. I’ve lost 80 pounds since Christmas and went and played in Woolen Gym on Tuesday. Give me six weeks of playing regularly and the college boys are going to find out that at least one old man can play.

  3. Jeffrey Lieber

    Beyond the “real”… kids, wife, dog, family.
    Solving story.
    It’s weird what I high I get finding my way out of a dramatic morass.

  4. Amy S.

    Hosting the Monti StorySLAM; tubing down the Dan River with my friends; night skinny-dipping at Wrightsville Beach; that moment in February every year when a student makes it clear I’ve actually taught him something; having deep conversations with my nieces and nephews; writing and publishing a blog post I’m proud of.

  5. tregen

    standing in front of a group of pessimistic/hostile people and turning them to my point of view via pure advocacy.

  6. caveman

    #1) being on a beautiful mountain stream, with no one else around you, having just made a perfect cast with a dry fly, waiting for glory
    #2) going full throttle on a boat with family and friends (and beer) on board on a sunny day

  7. Alyson

    Besides being with my family, I love being in the final preparation stages of something I’ve planned. It’s such a great moment when you get that sweet spot of still being able to anticipate the perfect execution of something and knowing that everything has come together. I thrill to dinner parties.

  8. Lurker Ann

    Playing with intelligent (in a broad sense) three/four-year-old children.
    Writing something that is coming together.

  9. Jackie

    Kayaking alone on the ocean.
    Finding an idea that connects a dozen different ideas and makes the impossible probable.

  10. Jackie

    Kayaking alone on the ocean.
    Finding an idea that connects a dozen different ideas and makes the impossible probable.

  11. wottop

    Sat behind the basket with my father at a UNC game when they played Nichols State back in December.
    I watched the game flow around for most of a half before I ever looked at the scoreboard. When the game got down to the last 5 minutes, I just didn’t want it to end.

  12. Caitlin

    Working with a great team during a crisis, solving problems as they come up. Could be in a refugee camp in Haiti or in a hospital ICU. Setting almost doesn’t matter but the people do.

  13. Cindy

    Getting into a zone, either painting or problem solving at work, when the work flows through you rather than being forced.

  14. scruggs

    Moments with our kids…times of uncontrollable laughter, as well as at bedtime when they each will talk and talk (tell me about WWI?!) to keep me in there hanging out, and it works every time.
    Also, I love the feeling of the knockout in competitive sports…when I hit a winner in tennis or score a goal in soccer.

  15. Tanya

    I love reading to my 4 year-old at night, right after he’s had his bath and he’s snuggled up to me in bed with his still-damp hair resting on my chest.

  16. jje

    Driving up to Chapel Hill and singing along to my favorite songs, Zumba or any cardio dance class, watching my oldest swim competively, volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, vacations alone with my husband, watching my little guy make up songs about his beloved Carolina and putting on a “show” (kid puts the ham in Graham)

  17. Dawson

    That’s easy – tucking my nieces and nephews into bed at night. I love them, they love me, and they smell good.

  18. SWF

    Closing a deal – watching all of the threads come together – feeling like a conductor in front of the orchestra.

  19. littlerattyratratrat

    Guitar in hand, the pulse of the music all around, like being inside a beating heart, and you don’t know if you’re playing the music or the music is playing you. Drugs and sex got nothing on that feeling.

  20. Brad

    I’ve been trying to figure this out lately because I maybe forgot what it was for a bunch of years. But I think it’s generating ideas.
    I also like carrying certain ideas to two thirds of completion (the last third is no fun.)

  21. CM

    Being on a road trip, whether as a driver or in the passenger seat. I can conjure up romantic ideas about any small town.

  22. Piglet

    Does it count to get that perfect bliss just from walking long distances in nice weather, without carrying a lot or being in a hurry? Because that has done it for me, more than any other activity.
    I also get it sometimes from reading aloud or singing to appreciative listeners, from holding my baby son, or from certain “hot spots” at my home (easy chair, porch, treehouse, front yard) when the trifecta of a good book, food & drink and a warm, purring cat on my lap manifest. Working on campaigns and elections does it now and then, but only when the Democrats are both winning by a landslide AND governing well, which hardly ever happens any more.
    Certainly nothing at my work puts me there, ever. It is a blessing without equal to get paid for doing the things you really love to do, and those who have that make me green with envy.

  23. Annie

    Alone in a beautiful dance space opening new vistas with my hoop–taking notes for future classes. Without compare.
    The sheer joy of doing art I love reminds me of this Billy Collins poem, “The Best Cigarette”:
    There are many that I miss
    having sent my last one out a car window
    sparking along the road one night, years ago.
    The heralded one, of course:
    after sex, the two glowing tips
    now the lights of a single ship;
    at the end of a long dinner
    with more wine to come
    and a smoke ring coasting into the chandelier;
    or on a white beach,
    holding one with fingers still wet from a swim.
    How bittersweet these punctuations
    of flame and gesture;
    but the best were on those mornings
    when I would have a little something going
    in the typewriter,
    the sun bright in the windows,
    maybe some Berlioz on in the background.
    I would go into the kitchen for coffee
    and on the way back to the page,
    curled in its roller,
    I would light one up and feel
    its dry rush mix with the dark taste of coffee.
    Then I would be my own locomotive,
    trailing behind me as I returned to work
    little puffs of smoke,
    indicators of progress,
    signs of industry and thought,
    the signal that told the nineteenth century
    it was moving forward.
    That was the best cigarette,
    when I would steam into the study
    full of vaporous hope
    and stand there,
    the big headlamp of my face
    pointed down at all the words in parallel lines.

  24. Salem

    The renewing energy of a full sprint into an impossible new idea, and the life it breathes into a team.


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