ALL & NOTHING

Here we go again, diving into the nowhere of white space that is the waiting page. What will we write about? What will YOU read?

I try not to look at the virtual page on the screen, but need to attend to the keyboard ( I can’t ‘touch-type’). The letters there are separated out into little buttons, something like Scrabble letters, and arranged in a certain pattern (known as ‘QWERTY’ for obvious reasons).

I can also see my (quite dirty) keyboard, and my hands, looking older, but in a way more distinguished than I last remember seeing them. They seem to be moving well for their age, bouncing around on the springy buttons, transforming thoughts into words made up of letters. At least, I think that’s what happens when you write. I am not always sure? Do we really write our thoughts? Or are our thoughts shaped by the fact that we are writing?

I’ve had a busy and eventful week, full of teaching and music, politics, art, and London, and yet, whenever I come to write my weekly Blog my mind seems to empty and nothing of what I have experienced seems to to cry out to be of any urgent concern.

I suppose this could be because a Blog does not want or need to be a Diary. It can, and perhaps should be something other than the kinds of weekly or regular publications that evolved with earlier technologies.

This is the age of the everything. When everyone and everything has made itself visible and made itself hears and refuses to be discounted or ignored. This is the age of the planet, of the global, of the earth, of immanence and of all. Thus we come to write about anything and everything and thereby find ourselves writing about nothing.

My notebooks fill with inspired thoughts, jotted down while waiting at a red light when cycling to work, or when waiting for a bus. 99% of these remain there, in my notebooks, un-visited, un-returned to, though I must admit I find it difficult to throw old notebooks away. They build-up in a deep filing cabinet draw, and once every few years I go through them and tear out the best things I find there.

About 1% of those jottings have been worked up into articles, stories, lectures, facebook posts, articles in referee journals (I’ve published about 150 professional pieces now, but recently feel disappointed and demotivated by the fact that these haven’t significantly changed my status, income etc.)

But I really worry and wonder about all those other unexploited notes. Do they somehow improve you as a thinker, as a person? Do they provide some kind of internal education? Are they there, still available to you, the next time you discuss a related topic?

But what if you don’t get to discuss as much as you once did, and don’t get the opportunities to lecture and to publish that you once did? Then, do those great ideas just evaporate and dwindle and disappear, ultimately having no value or purpose, other than to momentarily excite you and help you to maintain the belief that you really do have something creative and intelligent and idiosyncratic to contribute to this world?

I’ll illustrate this week’s post with a picture of my Left hand at the keyboard, taken by my Right hand holding the camera.

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