do your work like you have a thousand years, or ten minutes
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.(1984 George Orwell)
I may be in a funk. I’m wondering to myself how I feel about this year…But then who doesn’t find themselves facing an existential dilemma every Friday afternoon? This week I spent a few days of warm sun in Beer followed by chilly ears in Bristol. I watched a woman swim in the sea and then went home and switched on the central heating. I was suddenly irritated that I wasn’t that woman in the sea.
My bike broke, my watch broke, my suitcase broke, my job is ending in two weeks, and I kicked over a glass of red wine whilst getting out of a beanbag at my parent’s house whilst they were on holiday. My new lodger, Henry, has a daily early morning exercise routine involving doing hyper-active press-ups and fast-forwarded star jumps next to me whilst I’m eating my breakfast which makes me dizzy.
Time to regroup and follow the advice of Dennis Palumbo (Writing from the Inside Out) “All that stuff going on, and not enough hours in the day – or space in your imagination – to get to it”. I’m bubbling over with ideas all day and plotting my fantastic new life with my partner D____ as a writer living by the sea, but in reality the weeks pass by and nothing has changed.
In a Murakami novel this would be the exact point when I might enter into another world that looks like my world, except that a few things are askew. I’ll know that I’m entering the new world as there will be a sign: two moons, off-kilter lodgers, talking cats, you know the sort of thing; a significant clue. In this alternate world I’ll enter into a special journey to save the world and will learn lots of important things along the way. At some point I’ll chose to return to my old life, but I’ll be changed and wise. Things will be different.
In the law of quantum physics this should also be possible: alternate lives and possibilities.
If the clock strikes thirteen today I’ll be excited. ‘They’ have come to get me. Until then I’ll follow the Shaker saying above and do each task more slowly, carefully and well, rather than doing a rushed job here and there, fizzing around like an aspirin and letting everything spiral out of control. Either possibility could work out of 1) hard work and focus to make things happen or 2) a quantum time slip that transports me to another place and time. I’ll hedge my bets that this isn’t 2Q13 and start on the hard work tack today, there is comfort in discipline, and besides, it’s always a hard slog for the hero to work out what is going on whilst moving between worlds. The (Global Challenge 2004-2005) yacht race is as close as I ever been to a fantastical other worldly existence. I’d go back to sea in an instant to capture the freedom of the uncivilised planet ruled by Neptune, not man’s will.
Great, now I’m feeling better. Phew. But I wonder if there is a remote control for Henry, I could really do with slowing his feet down in the morning to a less frenzied state of exercise. He’s like a Zebedee bouncing around making noises like an occasional submarine (nervous energy)? I hope he will relax soon and I haven’t got the energy spare to let it bother me anyway because I need to change the world.