Monday, 13 November 2006

Afternoon Mumps

Imagine you are a wildebeeste. Every year you trundle with several thousands of your mates across a scrubby tundral landscape, your hooves pounding a steady rhythm, causing the phrase "scrubby tundral landscape" to repeat through your mind for mile after scrubby tundral mile. Yet one day up on a hill is David Attenborough with a film crew. Today is the day, the first day in many millenia, when you do not migrate unnoticed. OK, so the light isn't good, so you don't quite have the numbers to make a true spectacle, but there is that chance that this is the footage that makes it to be shown to the world. "Do we migrate in vain?" you think to yourself over the pumping rhythm and amid the steaming rumps of your running mates. "Not today".

That's why I've never done blogs before.  I always valued my dead time.  Like those sorry afternoons when you are a child and sit with a puffed out face in bed, off sick from  no school, no playtime, nothing to mark out time. Only the prospect of a banana in half an hour and the rest of the time just pure, empty, wasteful, vile, still wasteful, still vile passing time, not even the throb of a toothache to keep you company.

Empty time is, though, creative time. It is why writers work as night watchmen or take long train journeys. they need the dead stuff, the futile expanse of life's tundra in which they can't help but germinate some seed of thought into, ooh, I don't know, a little poem, or a list of famous Grahams.

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