Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sound Thinking

“What is this life,

If full of care,

We have no time

To stand and stare?”

…….wrote someone whose name I can’t recall. He was absolutely right and I’ve spent a good deal of my life standing and staring. Nowadays I tend to sit and stare as it’s easier on the feet, but the general principle is the same.

It’s during these early morning periods of what I prefer to refer to as contemplative thought, that the muse of inspiration usually smites me between the eyes, resulting in the sort of golden prose that I know you look forward to each day.

But not yesterday. For yesterday, due to a number of outside influences, the muse was notably absent.

It occurs to me that future historians may stumble upon this work and be wracked with anxiety over this strange omission. What, they may ask, can possibly have happened on the 19th. of September in 2006 that caused him not to pen even the skimpiest entry? Undoubtedly they would search the archives for an explanation and probably convene several international enquiries into the matter, but it would remain one of the world’s mysteries. So I feel that an explanation is due.

But, I hear you say, you often don’t write anything on Sunday, so what’s the difference? Well, the Good Book says that thou shalt knock off the work bit on that day and I’ve never been one to neglect sound advice. But weekdays are different.

Of course, diarists are under no legal obligation to fill in every day with their thoughts. Boswell and Pepys often left out days and, as far as I’m concerned, Bridget Jones need not have bothered in the first place.

Even the diligent monks who wrote the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles would take their eye off the ball occasionally. For instance, in 509 AD, they only made a single entry for the entire year: “St. Benedict, the abbot, father of all monks, fared to heaven.” I suppose they must have spent a lot of time standing and staring that year, especially with the abbot out of the way.

And that was my problem, for I find that on the 18th. I had spent far too much time in contemplative thought and the scheduled work had just not been completed. It was the same when I was at school and only clumps alongside the head would rouse me from my deeply contemplative state (they misdiagnosed it as “laziness,” medical science being less advanced in those days) . My position in the class seems to have been directly proportional to the frequency of these smacks on the head, and perhaps this is a measure that the government might think of bringing into play to improve the current academic performance in schools.

As a result of my Monday day-dreaming, Tuesday morning was frenetic as I had to rush to get the backlog cleared. By the time I had finished, the muse of inspiration had packed up and gone home. Hence no blog.

And without some quiet thinking time, no writer could ever accomplish anything worthwhile. And without some peaceful contemplation, where would there be any serenity in life?

My father used to quote the story of the old countryman, sitting on a bench outside the local pub, who was asked what he did all day. Figuratively taking the straw out of his mouth, he said:

“Well, some days I sits and thinks…………. but on other days, I just sits.”


Blogger archaesmd said...

The quote is from a poem by Wm. Henry Davies, and it's called "Leisure".

Here's a link to it:

As much as I enjoy reading your blog, everyone's entitled to a day off at least once in a while.

6:57 pm  

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