Not too long ago I held a belief that my real life impeded my need to explore a life inside Imaginationland.
I wanted to create stories and share them with others. I wanted time to write, to create characters and watch them have lives of their own. When Mr Sandman visits each night, my eyelids become a canvas on which my characters perform.
Though weary from the day job my brain feels alive, unrestrained and eager to roam the world of what-ifs.
In those fleeting moments I am free to enjoy a single passion, writing without writing. For me at least, the physical act of writing is only part of the craft. The eyelid canvas is where my true writing takes place. They are where I get my hit of delirium, my flash of inspiration.
I don’t fight Mr Sandman. He has his job to do. And as he folds his blanket around me I hope in the morning I’ll remember even a snippet of what I watched on the canvas.
When morning breaks, and I do remember, well, the sensation is hard to describe. It’s like a scene from a sci-fi movie where a character experiences two lives at the same time. I’m awake, in the real world, yet reliving something from a fantasy world.
I guess it’s similar to that first caffeine boost or nicotine rush. That memory, no matter how ephemeral, is my first hit of the day.
Reality v Fantasy.
In a recent post, my blogger friend, Indigo Spider, wrote this beautifully descriptive piece:
What I want to live is that moment when, for example while watching a movie, the hero says fuck you to the prevailing powers because freedom means something more than conforming to the hypocrisy of wearing the correct façade of civility all the while suppressing the true self. I do not want to conform to the modern-day demands of beauty, and femininity, and work, and grind of bill paying while my productivity is wasted in a gray cubicle provided by my latest pay master. I do not want to suppress my intellectual and creative self.
Unfortunately there is no other way, is there?
Read the entire post: My Soul for Sale.
I’ve read it a dozen times. It’s stunning. I wish I had the ability to capture my thoughts and express myself in such a poetic manner. I’m aware that my own posts have recently been few and far between, and possibly overly long, but that’s the way I roll.
Indigo asks the question – Unfortunately there is no other way, is there?
I wonder if there were, would I take that option?
If I was granted my wish to be a full-time writer, would I be happy?
I used to think so, hence my opening line.
Recently the topic of winning the lottery came up, along with the inevitable questions. Would you break the news to friends and family immediately or wait a while? Quit your job the same day? Go on holiday? Buy everything you dreamed of? It sounds like the ticket to the life you’ve always wanted, or at least a life you’ve been conditioned to want.
Years ago I would have quit my job, travelled, lavished gifts on my family, paid off mortgages and so on.
But now I’m not so sure.
I have a busy, yet rewarding day job. Sure it’s hard work, both mentally and physically, and though I arrive home exhausted I am indeed happy.
A lottery win, as with my wish to be a full-time writer, has the potential to remove very important aspects from my life.
Every day I interact with fellow colleagues, we solve problems, chat, laugh, argue, help customers, share life experiences, offer advice and so much more. We have deadlines and targets to reach. Everyone has a boss and though many complain about them I believe they are underappreciated.
A boss provides me with goals which enables the potential to feel a sense of achievement and pride.
I’ve imagined quitting my day job, who hasn’t right? As I sit here writing this in my quiet room, I know for certain I’d miss my day job. Without it would I still find that hit of delirium each night, or each morning? With my spare time limited I savour moments of quality and clarity where my writing is concerned.
I’m on holiday next week. I’ve been looking forward to taking time out from work to relax and spend time working on The Holt. I have a weird sense of guilt for not writing at a steady pace, so I like to use my holiday as a sort of catch-up session.
And yes, I’m aware of the mantra: “A good writer finds time to write a little bit every day” or words to that effect. I guess that’s possible for some, and though I could sit and write garbage for an hour each day, I know I’ll spend twice that long editing out the junk.
The problem is that I get the urge to write at strange times, like the drive to work, or in the shower. I get home late each night, and despite having the desire to sit and write all I want is something to eat then read a book and fall asleep.
It’s the same with blogging and replying to emails, reading blogs, etc. I want to do all of it. I check my inbox, look at the headers, see things that catch my eye, but either hit delete or switch off the PC because my brain and mood aren’t in the right place to get stuck into anything more taxing than slobbing out.
Now I have nine days of me time.
My last holiday was spent procrastinating and the day before I went back to work I thought “Hey, I suddenly feel like writing!”
I cranked out an entire chapter in an afternoon and was pretty pleased with the result. So why didn’t I do that for the rest of the eight days?
I get the feeling it’s because I like my day job, and I like that delirium hit of writing without writing, and when the structure, goals and sense of achievement are gone, I’m kinda lost. I suck at managing my own time when there’s no imposed deadline or target.
Imaginationland can be lonely at times.
Writing is a lonely professional. It’s isolating, well, aside from the characters running around inside your head. It’s long hours or days, alone, with little social interaction. It’s okay to crave that, but in reality it doesn’t work for everyone.
Right now I’m sat at my PC with the sun on full beam outside. It’s 28 degrees and humid. UK summers are like being trapped inside a greenhouse. People bitch and complain about the humidity, the same who whine about the cold winters.
Screw them. I love it. Hey, Mr Weatherman? Bring on that lovely heat!
And yet here I am, indoors, writing this. I blame Indigo for her inspirational post. Yet I also applaud her. I don’t want to conform or be a slave to the system. I want to be different, a rebel that gets away with shit.
But like she says, there’s no other way, is there?
Maybe that’s a good thing.
Conforming to the rules of society does indeed pay the bills and provides us with human contact. I think a healthy balance between conforming and seeking out that hit of delirium, in whatever form it comes, is what we really want.
A lottery win, or full-time writing, is what I’d like, but not at the detriment to the structure of my life. It’s nice to be needed and to be someone’s go-to person. Some people work well, or indeed better in isolation, but I suspect for the majority losing that wide circle of fellow humans is akin to being imprisoned in solitary confinement.
So, how do I wrap up this odd piece of reflection?
I know. How about a change of subject?
This week, due to the hot weather, I’ve seen lots of people in summer attire – shorts, vests, skimpy stuff, and…flipflops.
I cannot stand flipflops.
In my opinion they are the absolute worst piece of clothing ever invented.
Okay, they keep your feet cool. But that’s it. And there are plenty of other ways of doing that.
Flipflops (even the name grates on my nerves) are evil. The sound they make is like someone scraping finger nails down a chalk board.
Squish, flip, flap, snap, slap, squish, flip, flap, snap.
They look nasty and cheap. I’ve never seen a pair being worn that look comfortable, or well even suitable.
Toes seem to spread out wherever they like, hanging over the edges like a panicked animal let loose in the wild for the first time. The frightened thing wants to flee but can’t escape the safety of the box.
I don’t like toes. They look wrong.
I’m certain people are suffering when they walk.
I tried them. Once. Made it about a dozen feet before I kicked them off.
They smack of being poor. I see them and think: “Couldn’t you afford anything better? Couldn’t you find anything else more suitable for walking?”
And they look like they smell bad too. Foamy rubber soaked in foot juice.
Long arm people.
Okay, this is a weird one, and I don’t know why it bothers me, but it does. I couldn’t find a picture, so I went with an obviously Photoshopped one.
So, hot weather, skimpy clothes, you get the picture? For some reason this makes arms very noticeable to me. I get a strange itchy, wincy feeling when I see someone whose arms reach down too far. Every so often I’ll spot someone with hands that seem to flap around near their knees.
It makes me question if my own arms are too short.
It’s stupid I know. Maybe it’s an optical illusion, because someone is wearing a vest top, so their upper arm is visible, it seems their entire arm is very long. But I swear there are some people with abnormally long arms.
They make me feel funny. Like squirmy inside.
So there you have it, dear blog reader, a meander around my reality versus time issue and two things that bug me about summer.
Wherever and whoever you are, remember to smile. It’ll make you happy, and others too.