I have to apologise for not having posted for a couple of weeks. I've been reflecting on the many benefits of voluntary unemployment (note: these do not include so-called unemployment benefits, as it seems the G-men don't take kindly to the 'voluntary' part). More broadly I've been thinking about work and whether this temporary hiatus could be used to realise some of my creative ambitions. I've always suspected that real creativity might be a convenient way out of work; though of course I realise that realising it involves a lot of work. Nevertheless a lot of writers see themselves at odds with the world and values of conventional employment. Not least Philip Larkin (again), whose poem 'Toads' articulates my latent suspicions:
Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?
Why can't I? Lots of other people seem to. Indeed corporate gurus argue that creativity is the capital of the twenty-first century (like it wasn't in every other one.)
Then there's Thomas Hardy, Larkin's antecedent, whose philosophical approach I used to justify frequent bouts of inertia when studying:
"It is no new thing for a man to fathom profundities by indulging humours: the active, the rapid, the people of such splendid momentum that before they can see where they are they have got elsewhere, have been surprised to behold what results attend the lives of those whose usual plan for discharging their active labours has been that of postponing them indefinitely."
Although the older I get the more I have to admit that indefinite postponement might yield profundities, but rarely results.
Then there's Hilaire Belloc, who said he "never put pen to paper without wishing that I had inherited an enormous fortune, in which case you may be very certain that I should never have put pen to paper."
So is writing a way of working, or of not working? If I didn't have to work (a euphemistic way of describing my current status), would I want to write? Or is the dream of writing only one of the humours I indulge while reluctantly pursuing my more active labours?
I'll keep you posted.