Mondays have a perfection which is quite their own. They’re like having New Year’s Day every week. Their potential for new beginnings is just as ephemeral. They are the day for small victories, for tiny changes. And every Monday is pretty much the same. You go to bed on Sunday full of how the new day will bring a new attitude, and yet by 4pm all such plans have flown out of the window and you sit, cup of tea in one hand, Tunnock’s in the other, looking back wondering exactly where the day went.
Well, if you’re anything like me, fearful of beginnings, especially significant beginnings, then by now you have quite a clean flat. In fact, Monday is the day for displacement activities. This post is itself a displacement activity. There’s irony, as they say.
Many moons ago, when I was but young and something or other that goes with young but doesn’t sound patronising or tempero-phobic, I practised very, very hard. No, no, no … much harder than that. I had a particularly …
[ok, this is an aside. On sunday I fell asleep in the middle of replying to a text, woken by the clatter of my phone on my mac. l;;;;;;;;;;;;;aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (hmm … that was me dropping off again). I’ll be back after a good nap]
… well-organised practice routine, which even included periods of applied composition, during which I would pick a word at random from a book and then write a piece of music inspired by it. But I digress. The routine was carefully designed and, depending on rehearsals and teaching and so on, gave me a solid eight hours of practise in the day.
I developed a mild OCD during this, awfully vital, phase during which I developed and honed the technique for which I was later mentioned in dispatches. It went like this: I started at 9am. Sharp. If for some reason I failed to hit this particular mark, by so much as a couple of minutes then that was it. I had to wait for the next mark. At 11. Or even after lunch. At other times I would sit, guitar in hand, pick at the ready, metronome rattling out it challenge, and my fingers would.not.move.
Then, I would sit there, tight-lipped and fuming, as my limbs simply refused to carry out their only reason for existing. Now, things have turned around.
I still seem incapable of actually doing anything, but now it’s simply because I constantly find other things which seem far more important than carrying out the task set out for the day.
Take today. A monday. The monday. I was barely able to keep my eyes open last night (in itself a rather embarrassing problem, as people take offence when you start gently snoring at inopportune moments) until I got home … then ZING! Wide a-bloody wake. But I’m still awake before 6. I don’t actually get out of bed (other than for important tasks, such as coffee making duties) until 10ish, when I get ready and go to the gym. I do achieve many little tasks, one of which is to decide what I’m going to do after lunch.
For those of you reading this instead of doing important tasks, I made a quite serious decision over the weekend, accepting what the world was telling me and abandoning academia. Part of this decision involved finishing an article which merely needs a brush-up, because I’ve done that much work I might as well finish it.
Monday. Monday was the beginning. The first day of the the rest of my career. I was to start writing as what I do rather than something on the side. How beautifully ironic that I end the day writing about not writing.
And this is not because I have writer’s block, no, no, no … it’s simply because I kept finding other things to do. So I sit as I type in a freshly tidied and hoovered room, in a flat with a clean kitchen … and when you’d rather hoover and wash up than write, perhaps you need to look at what you were intending to write.
This is why people who achieve quite often seem to have some sort of OCD. The academic process involves hours poring over the minutiae, often for very little payback. For the academic, it’s the process. It keeps them, ahem, sane. They merely write books to make sure they still get paid. My inability to read or concentrate coherently is another fine reason why it’s time to jog on.
But it’s the ability to justify everything that you don’t do which truly amazes. And you know what? It may be monday today, a little New Year’s Day, but tomorrow, well, tomorrow is the first day of February. Now that’s just a perfect day …
February, ah, february. Game on!