Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Let it Go

I'm supposed to be doing my taxes. I'm leaving to visit my parents in Arizona tomorrow, and it's the last possible moment I can do them without pissing off my accountant. Since I am incapable of managing these things on my own, my accountant is high on the list of people I need not to piss off.

Doing taxes, for me, is many hours of coming face to face with my own inadequacies. I can't find things I should have kept. I can barely add. I can't deal with the forms, I can't even understand them. It's the real world of money and organization, and I'm fairly sure that real world is going to lead to my doom. This is why I write fantasy.

Every year, my mom and I promise each other we won't kill ourselves rather than do the taxes. It's worked so far. But I just found out I messed something up even before I begin, to the inconvenience of my accountant, and am beginning the whole ordeal already awash in self-hatred. It's embarrassing. I like to be good at things. My accountant, I'm sure, is beginning the procedures to declare me legally incompetent for the safety of those around me.

So, I just saw this OK Go video for This Too Shall Pass. I'd embed it here, but record companies are even stupider than I. So, just go take a break and watch it. And then watch the sequel, which is just jaw-dropping. And, by the way, a good little lesson on suspense.

Feel better? I thought so.

OK Go's thing is they make these amazingly intricate videos shot in one take. Their first one, this self-produced treadmill video, is a classic. Sure, these videos sell records, but these guys just set out to make something cool, something that stops you in your day--for just a moment to marvel. They're art, and they are joyous. I think if we can do something like this--something that makes someone stop and take a breath, and maybe even forget for a moment that they are brain-addled and incapable of functioning in the real world, then we've done our jobs.

OK. I gotta go. But this too shall pass.


  1. Good luck on the taxes, Anne. I did mine three weeks ago, but haven't sent them in. We're actually supposed to get a little back this year, but TurboTax says my return has a "high audit risk," because I didn't make any money on my writing this year. Trying to decide if I should omit some of my deductions and pony up a check to the IRS, just to deflect their suspicions.

  2. And that is the great thing about art like this which comes from punk/indie/new wave/d.i.y history.

    We all can embrace this stuff. We all have it in us. We can all get our taxes done!

  3. Isn't that what husbands are for, to do taxes?

    There's a David Sedaris essay called "Keeping Up" in which he says that, whenever he gets mad at his husband Hugh and fantasizes about leaving him, he realizes he could never function alone. "I do not know how to turn up the heat, send an e-mail, call the answering machine for my messages, or do anything even remotely creative with a chicken. Hugh takes care of all that, and when he's out of town I eat like a wild animal, the meat still pink with hair or feathers clinging to it."

    I'm not THAT bad. But I'm close. Aren't most writers?

  4. Anne, I did my taxes last week and told my accountant that I'd had a root canal two weeks earlier . . . she didn't laugh. So. It shouldn't be so hard. I think even more than facing up to the money part, it is using my brain in such a different way that it hurts - for days. Hope you are on your way.

  5. Isn't that what accountants are for, to do taxes?
    I give my accountant (or send or email) my long list of deductions, my W-9 and bank forms and he figures out the rest, tells me what it is and I pay it. Magic. I happily pay him for this feat.
    I find it strangely interesting, with a certain amount of horror, to see what I make and spend each year. It's never pretty, but at least I'm not in one of those complicated high tax brackets.
    I actually think my accountant does my taxes for me out of pity. He once told me he longed to be a writer, but after doing my taxes has never brought it up again.

  6. Debra, I'm afraid that's one question even Ask the Inkpot can't help you on.

    Lisa, I do the same thing. But the process of getting that all together is crazy making for me. But I'm DONE.