On Writing


Writing is easy. Until you put some thought behind it. Ad hoc writing, a little like what I am doing right now, was easier for me fifteen years ago when I first started doing it. Now it is downright impossible. See? I just deleted and re-wrote impossible back there because I started thinking to myself, “It can’t be impossible if you are writing. Perhaps you should write, ‘Writing well is downright impossible’. That way, the impossibility is in writing well, not just writing ad hoc.” And this last sentence has caused me some two-minute angst because of the quotation (“) or notation (‘) (is that what they are called and am I allowed to place brackets or parentheses right against each other like this?)

This is a little like life, to be honest. Fifteen years ago on any Friday evening at about this time I would have been drinking something up. Right now, I am sitting next to a glass of…wait a minute…this is water! I never drink water! What the … And then right there I was about to publish a wet, soggy expletive there but then had another thought – suppose my father reads this? Or, worse, my daughter?

Scruples, that is what has grown on me over the last fifteen years. No more free wheeling (imagine the open-zipper pun I could have played on that back then!) and much less daisicality (a word made possible because the lack of it has a recognisable form).

Let’s see what lies ahead. And let’s not stand back against the wall while peering. I’m going to stand dead centre of these tracks, unlike the fellow who expressed fear that the light at the end of the tunnel might have been an oncoming train… (Do I do too many of those dot dot dot things? They are the literary equivalent of the American air quotes.) And because I am unsure of whether the full stop should be inside the curves or outside of them, I must continue until the need for parentheses expires. I need to relax.

I used to have have piles of joie de vivre spilling out of my sides – which made me look a little like this guy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joie_de_vivre). The sad part being that even with the joie de vivre almost running out I still look like him!

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