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a man slumped on his desk, from 'The Sleep of Reason Produces



Archive for March 13th, 2023


Text at Gunpoint

I remember reading at some impressionable age that there was “no such thing as writer’s block”. I don’t recall the context, but I’m guessing it was the same as my friends who said “there’s no such thing as jetlag”: a small crucifix to wield at the devil itself, rather than a statement of fact.

I don’t know about a “block”, but I have traumatic amounts of writer’s procrastination. Apart from it taking a starring role in my bio, I spent a lot of life devising increasingly byzantine ways of handling it — mostly through invented draconian punishments, and commandeering friends or co-workers to execute on them. When I wrote stage shows, my sinister manager figure, Ed Smith the VIII, literally locked me in a room to write them. When I wrote NTK, I would stay up all Thursday night until five (AM or PM) and I could feel the hot glares of its readers on the back of my neck. My columns were extracted by force. My various writing gigs were gently prised out of my hands by family who never wanted to see me suffer again.

And yet, shit got written. I just spent a few minutes procrastinating by looking through Oblomovka’s back catalogue — ostensibly to find other times I complained about all this, and a) that I remember none of this nor how it got done, and b) it’s fine. Even the 2008 Nanowrimo is okay in retrospect!

Anyway, the point of this is that I’ve been feeling some heavy back-pressure in my head to start writing things down. For the last few years, I’ve been mostly pursuing a role as oral storyteller, where I give (largely unrecorded) talks about what I think, and then people constantly harangue me to document it more permanently. I have slowly realised that I am leaning a little more heavily on my charming British accent than actual facts in my statements, so just for everyone’s safety, I should probably switch to structured text.

Secondly, back at the day job, as our duties and responsibilities have grown, so has my ability to keep it together in my head, shrunk. Processes must be recorded. Atittudes explained. Yelps of discontent justified. The Sumerian brainhack must be reactivated, Socrates be damned!

So I’m writing again. 200 words at least a day here, other wordage elsewhere. Forgive me the heavy drinking, the bouts of undirected anger, the weeping and the sleep deprivation. Onward!

(400 words)


petit disclaimer:
My employer has enough opinions of its own, without having to have mine too.