The good news is I’ve been given this award by Ms Minx
She has awarded it to people she reckons are less lazy than she but I suspect she is probably a hive of industry compared to me. Some of the most industrious people I know seem to be so without looking as though they are doing that much. On the other hand, there are those who do very little and I wouldn’t call them lazy. Why is that? It’s to do with the quality of attention that they bring to life, I suppose.
At the many schools I attended I was often thought of as being lazy, dreamy (a euphemism) or at any rate someone who “could try harder.” As a child one tends to accept whatever label is given as true. But looking back, I don’t think I was at all lazy; bored, disorientated or alienated is something quite different and I certainly was one or all of those for substantial amounts of time. When I walked out of the school building the day of a biology exam and went to Hampstead Heath instead, it wasn’t laziness that drove me but a sudden conviction that I knew what I needed – to get out. The English teacher there liked me because I was good at books and poems and writing stories (especially those) but it didn’t stop me from being Asked To Leave. Actually, had they known, I was a tireless worker for anything that had to do with the life of the imagination, which was all I cared about because it was all I understood. I played elaborately and inventively and created for myself and my young sister an otherworld that sustained us through difficult years. I read everything and when I ran out of children’s books I took from the adult shelves, no-one stopped me, so I have a store of read books inside me. I taught myself to cook and steal and play the guitar, all useful skills in their way, though I only really use one of them now.
But I’ve got this Lent thing I’m doing: instead of giving up chocolate I’m working on poems, with the idea that I’m actually going to send stuff out. It’s a kind of recognition that there are things I haven’t got round to doing that I should be doing. Call it laziness (one could) or not being sufficiently grounded. I have this idea, you see, that if editors can’t be bothered to come looking through my files for my poems and get them sorted and published then, you know, sod it. Well nothing has happened so obviously something has got to change – and I suppose it has to be me. A bit of self-imposed boot camp is in order. And gold stars.