Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Right Not To Write

I used to be bought the Letts Schoolboy Diary every year as a Christmas stocking filer. January's became crammed with spidery text telling of snowball massacres, worm executions, tries almost scored and faint glimpses of teachers' cleavage.

By mid-February a pattern emerged: "Got up. Went to school. Came home. Had tea".

At an early age, I'd discovered the tyranny of a diary's expectation. How they mocked me with blank days passed by. "You want to be a writer?", they sneered. "You can't even find fifty words for a diary entry. Pah!".

One year, I asked for a voucher instead of the Letts. I bought a chunky A5 lined notebook. No dates, no boxes into which I'd have to shoehorn teenage angst or leave as a tribute to ennui.

My book. My rules.

Rule 1: The right not to write.

I stopped keeping a diary after my polytechnic years. I had nothing to say to myself.

Nowadays, I blog. I used to blog about whisky.  I still blog about beer. And occasionally I blog here. Not often. There's ideas... the menu bar suggests I'm writing about a real ragbag of stuff.

But, I'm not.

Why? Why go to the trouble of setting up a blog and hardly posting?

It's because I love choosing not to write.

Waking up in the morning - today it's blue sky and slight breeze all the way - I look over the shortening shadows on the lawn as blackbirds pretend to hunt worms and I rarely think to myself: I really want to fire up the laptop and spend the next thirty minutes in front of a keyboard. Because eight hours spent in front of one for my day-job really isn't long enough.

I could be writing about paradiddles or filters, fast cars or slow cooking.

Instead, as a writer, I'm revelling in something luxurious and self-indulgent.

The right not to write.

Feel free to point out that I have, of course, just spent half an hour in front of a laptop writing this. And, yes, I've sort of been here before

By Simon Johnson with 1 comment


You're dead right/write. I'm happy to let my beer-related blog suffer due to life keeping me otherwise well-occupied.

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