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Thursday 27 July 2017

Divorce and other things

Here's a gruesome definition of leisure: "when one is not working or occupied; free time."

The Great Vacancy?

I was last salaried in 1995; almost twenty-five years of being unoccupied. And since shortly I will be on holiday I must, if I were playing the game, face a different level of inoccupancy. The equivalent of a medically induced coma, perhaps.

The hard disk of my netbook (a laptop that shrank in the wash) says otherwise. Two files contain a novel and a non-fiction work, both awaiting their final, final, final read-through. I may never open them. In my head is an idea for a short story: a male actor and a female actor (The Guardian style-book condemns "actress") who hate each other must combine in a presentation of love poetry. I had fun trawling comparatively obscure poets for the raw material; I look forward to juxtaposing these over-charged lines with the two malevolent thespians.

The two books and the story (assuming it gets written) may be regarded as junk by others. But they have the potential to keep me occupied.

I'll also think melancholy thoughts. Ideologues are cutting me adrift (if only psychologically) from two personal resources: the homelands of Richard Strauss and Francois Truffaut. Hatred is said to be bad for you but it can confirm vital signs.

We all know what an occupied country is. What about an occupied person?

I'll also sing. More Mozart but then I have limited aims.


  1. Unoccupied? Surely never. Unsalaried more like it. I don't know you but I would suggest that you are anything but unoccupied. And that you don't confuse being occupied with distracting yourself from whatever may be the cause of your melancholy.

  2. Sabine: Nice of you to say so. The dubious fact is that writing a novel involves playing a great deal of solitaire on my computer. And whereas melancholy thoughts provide a fleeting impression that I might, if my hair were longer, be a poet, the fifty to sixty sonnets I have posted on Tone Deaf don't necessarily reinforce this supposition.

    One reason I write is because I'm keen to find out how sentences I embark on are going to "pan out", a phrase beloved of my mother. And that's a case in point. It was only after I'd typed pan out that I decided to clothe the words in quotes and then tack on the bit about my mother. The visible equivalent of writing is doing a yo-yo: with many sentences the string becomes tangled. That I suspect is a mixed metaphor.

  3. Oh my, I wasn't salaried until about three years ago, working for hourly wages. And now I'm already counting down the years to retirement.

    Good to know I only have to let my hair grow to become a poet.

    A bird is singing the most lovely song outside just now as dusk falls.

  4. RW (zS): Sorry about the gap, the fortnight's holiday intervened. Then lightning stomach bug (vomiting, diarrhoea, internal sensations of cold) struck. Sorry about hourly wages, they sound discriminatory. With retirement you must try and make it stick - ie, live long enough to ensure you absorb all the money you paid into the pension pot. Regard it your personal obligation to outdo the actuaries' predictions. I'm well ahead and could, I suppose, die happily tomorrow.

    Your hair may already be long enough. Never mind about bird song: consider kitchen pots and pans, your car's muffler, washing up, deciding whether your toothbrush needs replacing. Poet's should aim to enoble the mundane. Keats already did the lark.