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Well, this nearly didn’t happen. Thought I’d give myself Saturday off, without realising of course that I also gave myself yesterday off too. As much as I don’t want to make this into a chore I only continue for the sake of it, failing to at least do five posts in seven days would be a godawful start.

A good way to get some journal material would be asking why I didn’t post yesterday. It wasn’t because I’d had a couple of pints, a very indepth conversation with my fiancée and spent probably a bit too much time playing videogames and watching TV. I’m resisting the idea of writing as a daily routine.

Mainly because I have to remember about it. I’d already forgotten I hadn’t posted yesterday when I started thinking today could be my regular day off. It’s bad enough that I’ve put more into this journal than I have into the poem. Perhaps that’s because the poem doesn’t seem to want to play ball right now – a couple of lines are coming together nicely but the more I try to finish the verse the worse they start to look.

This is just one of the hurdles I’ve sat down at before, and I’m determined not to do that again. My gut wants to make some self-deprecating joke about wanting to fail a little further on this time, but I’m not going to go with that or keep that going – this is about finishing something and starting something bigger. This is about keeping on keeping on.

The book – of which this is so far the only exercise I’ve really done – suggests talking about friction or tension. The tension I’m feeling now is that I’d rather be doing something else, that this is suspiciously like a school task, but that’s maybe not a bad thing. This exercise changes purpose all the time as I’m writing it – clearing the cobwebs, making me wish I was doing some *actual* writing, reminding me that if I want to write I have to write, effectively giving me an easy, uncomplicated way of making sure my brain puts something together each day.

It’s supposed to be half an hour but I’ve decided it’ll be 650 words or whichever comes first. And with me I’m pretty sure the wordcount will clock up before the time does. I don’t have much problem, once I’ve started, which actually getting things to come out – it’s actually pinning myself down and starting that has always been the problem.

The fact my other half is in America does facilitate this, which is almost unfortunate. I really want to keep this going when she’s back, but as we communicate at the moment via the computer I can guarantee I’ll be sat in front of one late enough to feel able to bash out some words. But after the trip I’m going to have to get over feeling guilty about pursing this pretty selfish exploit. We do so much together, it’ll be hard to pull away for even 30 minutes.

With luck though some changes will mean that she has further responsibilities outside of the PhD, and it isn’t such a terrible thing that I cut out an hour or so of my evening to spend, basically, alone. Writing is a wonderful but a worrying thing. The ideas and development is exciting with two people but for me the actual creation of the words is a very solitary act. I don’t think I could write with anyone.

That said, if I could write with anyone it would be her. I’m just acutely aware that the issues I’m striving to express – at the moment anyway – are very male, very rooted in male pysche and issues around being a man. She was very interested in the poem’s arc, which heavily touches on these things, but I don’t know how interested she would be in paragraphs of story as they came together.

Although it is wonderful to have a reader who is committed to your own vision that they work hard to understand it and help you form it, at the same time as not allowing you to be lazy or kicking you up the arse when you need it.

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About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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