Friday, May 14, 2010

The one where I run out of things to say

I never thought the day would come! But like a drained well, a closed tap or (oh damn you, self-fulfilling prophecy) another water-related metaphor, I want to write, I YEARN to write and nothing flows out.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to pretend I’m a particularly masterful wit of our generation. Half the time when I blather on, it’s about things that mean nothing to 70% of people, and 70% of the time I have to explain to half my verbal victims that about which I’m talking because I assume people are in my head and will instantly get my pop culture references, a la Gilmore Girls (huh, I never quite finished that series). But even with that blunderbuss method of speaking, every so often I’d make an interesting point, amusing story or something just so abstract in its content that it would be entertaining. Skip forward to the present day and almost like a war veteran (slightly hyperbolic, yes, but the book I’m currently working on is Charlotte Gray) I find myself more often than not stunned to monosyllables when people ask me questions, though somehow I retain the ability to be a good question-asker and listener. I guess I had to find my role in social situations somewhere else, right?

Not for me though, is the excuse of war. No comrades dying, nor being snatched from England’s green and pleasant lands, nor futility of the human condition exposed (though I still think one of the rings of hell contains the London Underground at rush hour). Instead the causational trigger for my reversion to a more silent movie-style approach to life is merely having started full-time, non-contract employment. Now while it is true that I rarely see any value in the work I do (every time I check the prices for the reports we write, my mind boggles) but it would be remiss for me to blame that for the manner in which I speak, surely? Never mind that I sink hours into Excel spreadsheets, and then pie charts based on data within those spreadsheets and then paragraphs of mindless text analysing the pie charts based on Excel spreadsheet data. Never mind that I can feel my mind slowly but surely devolving into merely organic mess that fills the space between my ears. Never mind that in my vigorous attempts to have things to get me through the day, I find myself literally every night in a pub or playing at working out in the gym until my stomach protests at lack of supper, leaving knackered every day, albeit of my own accord.

No man has a right to use such trivialities as an excuse for becoming more and more boring as days go on, but I certainly do. I hope this slump is merely that, a slump, but at present the future looks bleak and particular devoid of interesting anecdotes. Though of late I have:

Seen She & Him live in concert: It felt a little alien going to a concert where half the audience was justifiably sitting (I hate it when people sit down with their arms crossed at rock concerts) and just swaying. But I really enjoyed it, and fell deeper in love with Zooey Deschanel. So freaking adorable.

Finally bought 120 film for my new Diana F+ camera: though I had to resort to Amazon. The pictures better be as darn funky as I hope or that camera will end up gathering dust on my shelf. I never ever thought I’d shake my metaphorical fist at digital photography.

Nearly finished Charlotte Gray: incidentally a great book. Picked it up because I really enjoyed Birdsong and was told it was in the same vein. To extent it is, it encompasses the same wheelhouse of ‘real people in the backdrop of war’ rather than war itself, and Charlotte Gray and a few other protagonists are portrayed wonderfully. Though I don’t get quite the same magical wistfulness that Birdsong gave me, despite the grittiness of the setting.

4 Response to The one where I run out of things to say

14 May 2010 at 16:22

"No man has a right to use such trivialities as an excuse for becoming more and more boring." Bloody right. Except I don't find you boring in the slightest. We're not defined by what we do (at work), but by what fills our heads and our hearts. Yours seem to be full of intellect, appreciation for the small details, the unnoticed beauty in the world and a desire for more. And that's admirable :)

Can WE go to the pub when I come and visit??

15 May 2010 at 00:38

I'm super jealous you have seen She & Him live. How exciting!

18 May 2010 at 04:27

Maybe YOU believe that you have been drained of prose, but your writing is as beautiful as ever, Stephen! I can't help but sigh at your posts... and also in jealousy at your concert experience! I hope you enjoyed it immensely, and are in love with Zooey Deschanel- I know I am! :D

19 May 2010 at 16:52

Jealous that you saw She & Him in concert. I'm not surprised that your obsessive love for Zooey has grown even deeper now ;) haha.

I also feel strange sitting at concerts. Paying money to see a band live usually means that I like them enough to dance around like an idiot for a couple of hours. I much prefer if the people around me also join in and dance like fools so that I am not alone.