Holding Post

This is a holding post.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t know what that is, I think I just made it up. It’s a cross between a place holder in a seat at the Oscars, who sits in when the attendee has gone to the toilet, and a holding pattern that a flight might be in over an airport.

It’s flagging a place so you know where to come back to. It’s filling an unsightly gap. It’s marking time.

Because these are the dangerous Sunday mornings. The ones where you have to tread a little carefully, make sure you don’t slip up. Make sure that something doesn’t end, just like that, without the proverbial bang or whimper.

Don’t worry. It’s no big deal. Not to you, anyway. Maybe to me. It’s hard to be sure.

For these are the dangerous Sundays. But not dangerous for health or well-being or world security or important things like that. Just dangerous for this little blog, that’s all. Like I said, no big deal.

What on earth are you on about, Ken? It’s nothing, really, it’s just this. I woke up today, Sunday morning, without a blog post to put up. That’s unusual but obviously not unheard-of. I’ll sit down here and dig into my tiny brain and prise something out. Something from the past week which touched or amused or confounded me. Easy.

But this is one of those other Sundays. One of the Sundays where the brain is not up for being co-operative. “You’ve got nothing this week,” the old brain says, “give it a rest. Give your poor readers a rest.” And it’s not that I don’t have anything. I’ve got this and this and this. But, as I tick each one of them off on my mental fingers, my brain is closing its eyes and shaking its head and going, “nah, nah, nah.” None of it’s any good and none of it is worth doing.

It that was all this dramatic introduction stuff is all about, Ken? Your silly little blog? Well, yes, but it wasn’t all that dramatic, really, was it? And it’s important to me. So I have to do what I can. I have to keep trying.

I met a good writer in Tesco yesterday and he asked me how my own writing was going. They had moved all the produce in the store around the week before, and we were both weary from looking for where the bread had gone. So we needed a moment to chat and to gather ourselves.

So, how’s your own writing going, Ken?

I told him how work was hard and was taking up a lot of time and energy and that it was hard to get into it, hard to get it done. I saw how he looked at me. He couldn’t help it. It’s the way I often look at people when they give me this self-same spiel. It’s a combination of empathy and understanding but with a pinch of something else too. A hint of pity. Because this is what separates the writers from the would-be-writers. The sitting-the-fuck down and the getting-it-done. And in my head I may not be a writer, but I'm certainly not a would-be-writer. 

And the blog is a kind of a weathervane of that. Of how the writing is going. It’s like all of the other writing. It’s very important to me that I continue to get it done. It’s very important that I don’t just stop.

And these are the dangerous Sunday mornings. The kind of Sunday mornings where you just end up writing nothing. But not just that. It’s the kind of Sunday morning where you could feel you had nothing to write that was worth the effort. That you had nothing to write that anybody would ever want to see.

I said earlier how I have to keep trying with the blog. Keep getting it done. It rather begs a question. Why? Why bother? I could be writing something else as the week draws to a close. I could be tidying up some other piece of text early on a Sunday morning. I could be watching telly. I could be reading a book. I could be in bed.

I think those last three ‘Could Be’s are at least a part of the reason why I keep producing these largely irrelevant weekly thousand-word bursts. It’s me doing something. Something other than work or sleep. It’s like a person who might be knitting a scarf that nobody will ever wear. A tiny corner of the world is being filled up by the thing I am making. Something that wasn’t there before I started will be there now, because of me. Maybe nobody will wear the scarf today or tomorrow but it will be there, in a drawer somewhere and, if somebody ever needs it or even just stumbles upon it and tries it on for size, well that would be nice.

Don’t heed this old post too much. It’s just a place holder, a holding pattern. A post holder. I think I’ll do better next week.

I think I’ll have to now.

1 comment:

Jim Murdoch said...

Hi, my name is Jim. It's been about a week since I wrote anything. Even though I think of myself as being a writer above everything else and always have done the simple fact is the rest of the things that make me me have taken up so much more of my life and continue to do so but that doesn't change the fact that the thing about me that matters the most is being able to, even if it isn't as often as I'd like or as often as other people manage to do it, write. But I really hate to be asked how the writing's going because the only possible answer is, It's going. It's always going, ongoing, going on, buzzing away in the background. Yesterday alone I drafted four poems which I'll likely never finish but the simple fact is my head is constantly narrating stuff: "Here, listen to this and tell me if it's worth pursuing." It's like someone asking how the breathing's going.