Hobbies and habits and hope

“Arnold Layne…had a strange…hobby…”


Good morning. Well it’s Sunday the 14th Nov. It’s just after 11am and I’m up. Which is unusual for me. Weekends are normally a post-noon rising time, to make up for silly late nights, strenuous work, boozy pub nights and quizzes and clubs. This morning however, sweaty under a heavy duvet, I lay awake , mind spinning like a roulete wheel of “things to do today.”

As ever of course in the plodding walk to the grave that we call life – or a least my life – almost none of them are important. I have no charity work to do, I have no children begging for homework help or trips to swimming, I have no vital novel to finish, no lawn to mow or car with which to tinker. No, it’s my usual nagging feeling of “do SOMETHING” which normally inspires a 2 week flurry of activity that then withers and drops off and I can’t understand why I was interested in.

Past pieces of bi-polar-ish twitchy mania have included: a police procedural crime novel about a troubled cop called Jack Prophet (full plan and 1 chapter written); a meta comedy thriller called “Crisis” where a thriller writer sends his own creation on a mission to find meaning in his own life (lots of research, no title); A Rockabilly catalogue (lets listen in chronological order to all the best and most influential Rockabilly songs ever recorded, making notes of things like labels and years and artists and influences. (Started this, spreadsheet began to be filled, listened to about 150 or so records. Since abandoned). Online animated Jeff Goldbum Funko Pop series. Hilariously silly stories of plastic Jeff Goldblums, 4 inches high and trapped in the real world Lengthy animation and editing required. About 7 episodes made. All online.

Also with trailer and facebook page, also with own merchandise. Haven’t gone near it in 6 months. And my 9 month Army Fitness regimen which saw me, initially at least, pounding pavements in early mornings, sit-ups and press-ups and all sorts of stretchiness. Tried it three times I think. Never got more than 2 months in before cake and telly and sleepiness and lack of immediately rippling results drove me to the couch.

And on and on we go. Not to mention the literary “Gone Girl-esque” crime thriller. My 4th novel.  I have been tinkering with this for eleven years. It shows no sign of going anywhere.

How do I feel about all this? Well it depresses me, of course. As each one is a “what if..?” story that ends with unknown hope. Could any of these things “been” anything? And what does that even mean? To BE something? What kind of nitwit bar am I holding myself to, where unless something becomes a huge cash-cow worldwide internet/publishing/stage sensation allowing me to retire in idle luxury between chat-show appearances and university lectures, it’s a pointless exercise? Why can I not simply do what I enjoy and not have to make everything a “new career opportunity project,” doomed to failure? How can a hobby “fail?” You see what I mean? These grandiose plans that never come to the target mysterious and intangible “fruition.” Why does a hobby need fruition? How long does the chubby dad have to pant and puff about a Sunday league 5 a side team, before he stops glancing for Touchline Talent Scouts? I mean it’s feeble isn’t it.

One answer could be it is merely the curse of the time-rich. If one is going to shun evolution and mammalian instinct and not pair-up to reproduce and raise a loving healthy family, one is destined to have a fuck lot of time on one’s hands. And perhaps one is driven, albeit subconsciously, to justify oneself and say “well I didn’t have kids. But I did do…THIS!” and then, with a triumphant swoosh of the curtain, reveal a life well lived.

Folk have obsessions. I know. Men I think especially. Train sets, comic books, football, golf, motorcycles, lepidoptery, modern jazz vinyl. Things that consume them. I however continue to hunt. Because napping and toast can’t be all there is.

Which is a very long long long winded way of saying, guess what? I’ve got a new project!

(Oh has the fool learned nothing).

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