Monday, September 16, 2013

Watching Paint Dry

The nights are getting longer, the air is getting colder, and one's thoughts finally turn to blogging once more...
Actually, I've not been entirely with my Blog Mojo, having been busy with Other Stuff, such as idly loafing round. So, as is my wont, I thought it's time to blow the dust off the digital page and make you suffer more of my scribblings.
The problem with not writing for a while is that it is hard to get back into the saddle, as it were. Someone I knew, a poet, once said that if he stopped penning stuff for a week, it would take him a month to start writing properly again. In his case, considering the quality of what he produced, it might have been better for everyone concerned if he had taken a gap year or three. It does, however, raise the point about any and all the things we do requiring habit, consistency and work. I've been a teacher for twenty bloody years now, and for me, it's very much an engrained skill - I can walk into a room and just get a lesson rolling, even with the bare minimum of stuff. And that's the result of years of doing the same things, again and again, plus the initial talent I had for actually being able to stand in front of a room full of strangers and make them learn without turning into a gibbering wreck.
So yes, I'm a good teacher, but as a writer, I could be typified as Plain Bloody Evasive. Quite simply, I have the bad habit of doing any kind of displacement activity to avoid putting hand to keyboard. This includes things such as Drawing Pointless Cartoons, Making Stop Motion Films Of Clouds, Spending Time Ironing Creases Into My Underwear, Taking Selfies, the old favourite, Going To The Pub,and indeed, Staring At Nothing In Particular. Notice that I use capitals - this is because these are activities that through continual repetition have become almost time-honoured rituals in Faffing Around, a bit like The State Opening Of Parliament, or The Queen's Speech, except with underpants with a lovely sharp crease. And a beer.
However, the thing is that my life is undergoing quite a few changes at present, and it's made me reappraise what the hell is going on. Now, I don't think I'm actually undergoing a mid-life crisis per se, and I certainly don't feel that the Beige Gene has begun to express itself yet - I have yet to reach the moment in life when one pulls on a pair of trousers of indeterminate colour with an elasticated waist, and thinks, 'Mmmm, these are nice and comfy...' - but what I think is true is that my priorities are just a bit skew-whiff. I don't spend enough time doing what is truly important, and spend too much time sweating the small stuff, such as aspects of my job. I even had a rough night's sleep last night, fretting about a relatively trivial issue at work, until I thought 'why the hell am I letting a problem at work ruin my weekend and my sleep?'
In part, the events in Turkey have made me sit up and see what I'm doing, or rather, not doing - namely, writing, presenting and speaking as much as I should. When I read other bloggers and other people's writing, I always feel slightly ashamed that I haven't done as much. And of course, I say to myself that I will write more, but then DON'T DO IT. It's all very well saying something, but it's only in its execution that something becomes real.
Being someone who spends far too much time in Thinking Up Stuff rather than Doing Stuff, I need to change my habits so that the latter comes to the fore, messy and imperfect though it may be. And messy and imperfect is what this post is, but that's OK really. It's something on the page rather than an imagined Platonic nothing floating in the ether of the mind.