Writing to avoid Writing


It’s a fatal mistake for me to ever tell someone of my plans. It invariably means it’ll be something I fail to do and then feel embarrassed about. Whether it’s “I’m going to learn a musical instrument” or “I’m going to be in bed before X from now on”.

This time it was “I’m going to use the time I stay late at work to write”. Spoken confidently to M. a few days ago.

See, several things in my life have conspired to make me a habitual late-stayer at work:

o My flat is untidy and depressing. A much bigger topic. But remember all the “tidying for the gasman” stuff? Not just a metaphor. Hence, time spent away from flat is often nicer.

o My neighbour is noisy. My upstairs neighbour makes a lot of noise. Or that is she makes what is probably a reasonable amount of noise, but given that I can hear her footsteps when she’s simply walking around I think the problem is not so much her as the acoustics and thinness of my ceiling/her floors. Whatever. I hear lots of noise when she’s in and it’s annoying. (So just to recap – the flat untidy and noisy, generally not a restful place to be. Work on the other hand is quiet and I have the internet.)

o I often start work late. The observant among you, which I know is none, could have put together a rough pattern of my lifestyle based on this blog. It includes often quite long conversations with M. at the end of (nearly every) day. Since we both have lives – well she has, I fake one – these conversations often start late and stretch into the early hours. Now I can offset this to some extent because my hours at work are somewhat flexible. Officially they’re 9-5:30. Unofficially, no-one seems to mind that I often arrive later because I nearly always stay later*.

o Im often tired. Even with some late-to-work offsetting the late nights catch up with me. This often leads to a late afternoon “I’ll go home as soon as I can be bothered to drag myself up from this chair” lethargy**.

So upto now I’m mostly just read stuff on the internet. SoF, various blogs etc. However it occurred to me I could use the time to write. And if you check my posting times lately that’ll bear that out. However I’ve written blogs entries and forum postings, but not much of my own fiction***. Hence the idea. Hence the statement to M. Hence the new resolve. Hence the embarrassing reality.

But I’m not giving up, just recognising, with a wry**** smile, that I haven’t kept to what I said.

I also gee-ed myself up this lunchtime with some good ideas to get my life more on the track I want it to be. I came back to the office inspired. I wrote up a list of things to do and things to keep in mind. A few of them were to do with writing (at least one was to do with finding somewhere else to live). I even just wrote a list of ideas/projects in my Other Blog. Then I wrote about 200 words of free-association stuff just to get me writing something. Perhaps unsurprisingling it was a mixture of stuff I’d been thinking about (my mum’s birthday) and stuff I’ve been reading (Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith). It hasn’t, so far anyway, lead to ideas about what else to write.

So to fill in the time (otherwise I’d have to go home to the mess and the neighbour) I’m writing here. Writing to avoid writing.

Could be worse. Ho, and as it goes, hum.

(*OK, so about now some smart-alec has spotted the flaw in my logic. If I stay later to make up for coming in later, shouldn’t the extra time be spent working and not reading the web or writing? Two answers to that 1) well the inertia of lethargy***** means I stay later than I need to make up for and 2) who are you anyway? my boss? give a guy a break!)

(**OK, OK! A guy can have two flaws in his logic can’t he? So feeling tired and lethargic doesn’t exactly lend itself to being productive writing wise – but see I have a plan for that too. You thought the “I’ll go to bed before X” was just an example didn’t you? )

(***Unless you consider this blog a fiction. I guess it is. At least in the sense that all recollection is inherently unreliable and I’m not even trying to be impartial. I am therefore constructing a version of a narrative which only tangentially bears relation to what I euphemistically call my “real life”******)

(****but not terse, that would be weird)

(*****But if you’re lethargic, won’t…? Hang on we did this one already. Look quit with the footnotes. It’s too confusing.)

(******See I can make it sound quite interesting but it’s still work avoidance. This rambling is all well and good but it ain’t getting my best-selling novel, on which I can retire to a lap of luxury*******, written)

(*******Actually I think I’d like to retire to the lap of M. She can have all the money and keep me in the luxury of her lap.)

So enough with the Pratchettesque footnotes********. Somewhere there’s an ASDA ready meal with my name on it and my neighbour might just have settled down enough for me to consider watching a bit of TV.

(********They are kind of addictive though.)

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About shuggie

My name is Shuggie, Paul or LatePaul depending on where you know me from. I work in computers (databases) and occasionally write about softw
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