Saturday, 17 April 2010

Write myself down

You ever have that half awake/half asleep semi-conscious moment just before you fall asleep?  I have lost count of the times I’ve thought of a great lyric, a brilliant line for a song or a speech I’ve been writing, then fallen asleep happy.  Come morning, I’m wracking my brains for all it’s worth trying to recall that thought, but it never, ever comes through.  Seems that moment of genius is just that, not to be repeated.  It is maddening, frustrating, and really bloody annoying.

I remember a book by Tom Clancy where one of the key phrases from the plot was “If you don’t write it down, it never happened” May be Tom was reading my thoughts. I started to try and avoid the forgetfulness of a nights sleep, and take a pen and pad with me to bed so I could document that thought, that line, that quote but to be honest, I thought that was a bit sad, so gave up.

Before the days when mobile phones were all singing and dancing, but could just make a call, I’d often phone the office voicemail system and leave the line for me to gather next day.  The amount of times I came in to the office first thing and saw the light denoting a message, and surprised on playback to find it was me that left the message was, quite frankly, startling.  It seems that once I’d unburdoned my mind with the thought, I lost all recollection of it.  With the increased functionality of mobiles, I started trying to use voice memos on the phone, but in that weird stupor, I had trouble operating the machinery.

Fortunately, that moment is not the only time my brain is active and generating, but often I find the missing piece of the jigsaw in that moment.  I’d have the basic idea of the poem or piece I wanted to write, but looked for that something, the line that would stick, bring it all in to focus.  It’s this line, this hook that would come late at night.  Forgotten the piece would be left idle, gathering dust.  Line recalled, documented, I would complete the piece and wear a self-satisfied inner smile.

But this completion would then lead to the most important element, the delivery, the sharing.  And this is a relatively new thing for me. Previously, only the odd person had any access to any of the words I’d write, and that would be limited indeed. May be I’d hand over some words to the song-writer in a band I’d played in, but it would go little further than our small group.  Now that I seemed to have arrived in blog-land and things are there for anyone to see, it only makes writing that special line down more important. More vital.
For one so secretive about who they are and more, I find it surprisingly easy to share my thoughts with you this way.  And what’s even more astonishing to me as I type, is the depth of feeling I put in knowing where the piece will end up.  I won’t hold anything back when I scribble, otherwise it wouldn’t be me.  That would be fine when it all stayed on a piece of paper, or the external hard drive attached to one of my machines, but here it’s live and in colour, which makes it seem even more of a conflict with my reserved, private self.

Despite the openess, there are still some internal boundaries.  I won’t post some things, the more personal, raw feelings I’m experiencing.  “A funny fish” was a description a friend recently applied to this private/not-so-private thing I have going on.

And I suppose they were right. Up until recently I wouldn’t even put a picture of myself on my twitter profile, hiding away behind plastic cups and other strange things. So many people asked about my picture or what my real name is, as that still doesn’t show.  I’d always answered “What’s in a name?” or similar.  People wrongly or rightly assume things, and I’d rather people took me for who they found talking back to them, rather than the image that my name brought to mind.

But all the while the secrecy thing was going on I was posting here, baring parts of me that have not seen the light of friends or public day before, showing who really was behind coke cans and creme eggs.  So it didn’t really matter what I looked like, did it, or what my name really was? I’d written it all down all ready, you got to know me from the things I said, and occasionally did. You just didn’t have a picture to go with it.

And this is in part a thank you to you.  I said the other day that I’d had nice help to get to this point, and I did, from you.  In reading things here, asking me about me, it’s helped me write more, write freely, write me.
May be Tom Clancy was right.  I wrote it down, may be I happened.  And with this happening, I hope you know a bit more of me now. I know I do.


  1. I sometimes still do that "phone and leave a voicemail thing" - either from work to home and from home to work, LOL.

    As for the privacy/public thing, it is a strange one, isn't it? I'm also don't have a picture of myself on Twitter, there is a small one hidden away on my blog but I'm pretty unrecognisable. For me I think I have been influenced by all the negative publicity recently about these things (I don't do facebook for that reason).

    As I think I may have said before - really enjoy your writing, keep it up!

  2. Thank you JB

    We should have a 'sad' category all to ourselves for the voicemail thing.

    I quite agree with the privacy thing, I've never done facebook for that reason. But I find myself at a strange crossroads, I talk here more than I ever would about me face to face. I can't explain it either. Odd.

    And thank you. I will keep it going, don't you worry.