Sunday, 21 August 2011


It lies just out of my grasp. The everyday obligations and distractions that demand attention deplete the ability to immerse oneself in those thoughts that, in quieter moments, are crystal-clear revelations.
Whilst driving, the idea swims through my consciousness until by its sinuous circumspect approach, it appears right in front of my very face. Playfully the thought darts hither and thither, in and out of the mental landscape, all the while hinting at its form and colour. And then! There it is: Right there in front of me. The shape of the thing is complete and apparent and not at all slippery to grasp. I see it!

I am driving home in my car. But with a sense of satisfaction, I congratulate myself, as I take a sweeping bend on a beautiful late-Summer road with fields of ripe wheat either side. How obvious this notion is! How easily translated into words as I tend absent-mindedly to my semi-automatic mode of operation. The road bends, I follow, my mind races and I see a complex concept laid out bare in front of me in my head, just demanding to be written down.

How beautifully self-evident! How satisfyingly palpable this abstraction is! I will surely not forget it. Intellectually, I explore all facets of it as I drive towards the late afternoon sun. It merely has to be written down, that's all! I surely cannot forget that which, with such clarity, announced itself to me ultimately, crying out for expression.

Later, I sit, looking at a space on a computer screen, a space so empty as to be equally as intimidating as those blank pieces of A4 paper of my youth. The fecundity of the space speaking earnstly to me to do it justice and not to squander the promise it holds out to me.

But now there is nothing. The prosaic requirements of quotidian existence have swept clean the metaphysical slate. Where once a grand theme lay awaiting articulation, now there is only a mere hint that something was here amongst the flotsam and jetsam of humdrum thoughts; An enlightement overwritten by a shopping list.

And so it lies, just beyond my reach. My mind, scattered by the thousand thoughts of a day lived normally, struggles in vain to pull together enough concentration to piece together the fragments of that which narrated itself so abjectly whilst I was unable to attend properly to it.
And the pieces, like a myriad of escaping fry, slip through my mind's fingers leaving nothing but the memory of something vital, far-ranging, gone.

Everyday life consists of tasks, notes to oneself, commitments, obligations. In a day of living, in the 21st century, the grandiose is displaced by the mundane. Great intentions to explore hypotheses on questions small and great, become overburdened by an inertia born of a mild fatigue. The load wrought from the abundance of commonplace makes the mind just too weary to contemplate anything but what is immediately in front of us.

Another great intention dissipates into the banal.

But I will catch it and contain it. I will, one day, when all other demands are elsewhere, trap it for examination. And you will see it too.

1 comment:

  1. How very different people form words and ideas in their minds I didn't realize until I read your description of the process here.
    For me, writing, thinking and speaking are so closely related that sometimes it is hard to distinguish one from the other in my head.
    Especially when I am on my own, walking or travelling on a train, ideas pop up and before I know it, a blog article starts to write itself in my mind. I can see and read and hear the words, and when I say "read", I mean I can see what font they are written in and what colour. Not always, but often. Sometimes, a fully formed article emerges like that, down to the last comma.
    Occasionally, when I do indeed sit down to type that article, something odd happens - the words (or my fingers on the keyboard?) suddenly develop a life of their own, and the article takes on a different direction from what was already as good as set in stone.
    I like those surprises, but I also like the satisfaction that comes from typing up and article in exactly the way I previously brewed it in my head.

    Pieces slipping through your mind's fingers is a very strong and good comparison, making it easy for me to imagine what you mean.