Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Bit of Boot Camp

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.

10 comments:

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Congratulations on the award, Signs, very well deserved!

Funny thing about the old protestant work ethic - and that central European background - doing "nothing" constitutes laziness, when in actual fact resting, dreaming and taking time out is fundamental to our well-being. I'm giving you five gold stars for each time you dream and take time out!
;-)

Reading the Signs said...

Thanks, Vanilla, that's brilliant, - I've clocked up a few stars already. Yes to dream-time!

Kahless said...

Congrats Signs. I think this one is a mighty fine button.

Lazy?
I hate that word. Don't you think it is a word used as a manipulation? Kind of, you are lazy if you don't do what I want you to do?

Minx said...

I live in the south where indolence is an art form - sloth is my middle name. I do get things done but I just appear to be not moving very quickly (reverse gear is my favourite!). I suspect you fall into the same category?

cusp said...

Oh I love a bit of rigour: especially when it involves lying on the chaise longue and being forced to write or create or dream and lazily waft out an upper limb for receipt of yet another award.

At school, for a long time, I tried harder but hated it (trying and school). Then I tried harder when I got out and look where that got me [!].

Must go for a nice lie down....zzzzzzz

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Kahless - well the kind of thing that is often identified as laziness usually isn't, and the real kind (more of an inner thing) goes unnoticed. Unless you're a sensitive artistico with X-ray eyes.

Minx, I reckon I probably do - and the kind of things I get done aren't necessarily immediately noticeable. Sometimes I even surprise myself.

Cusp, have we done the human being versus human doing thing? Worth trotting out again, even if so. "Lazily wafting"? Graciously receiving, my dear!

Collin said...

A very deserving award, Signs.

Digitalesse said...

Hey Signs, well done for your award.

We share a common past! Asked To Leave. Learning to steal. Learning to cook. Learning to play guitar. Skills that can open doors when you are young, and looking for fun, and wanting to experience life with a sense of excitement. I wouldn't have missed those times for the world, would you? ;-)

I admire your commitment to apply yourself to your creativity. It's an excellent idea for Lent.

Once again … WELL DONE!!!!!

That's So Pants said...

Snappo Signs

I'm in illustrious company.

xxx

Pants

Reading the Signs said...

Thanks, Collin

Hi Digi - I think the only regret I might experience in connection with fun is that I didn't have more of it. So this was your story too?

And Pantaloons? Illustrious company, yes. Well well, I find this most cheering.