Friday, 7 February 2014

Second Time Around

Time for a reboot:

Second Time Around

Doing something for the second time is always the worst. The first time it’s fresh and new. Everything is experienced for the first time, everything is unexpected and you’re never quite sure what is coming around the next corner.

Second time and it’s already yesterday’s news. You know what to expect and it can seem like you are doing things on autopilot. Already some of the desire and ambition has been lost. Already you’re looking for ways to break the formula and break out of the rut into which you seem to be sliding. What’s more, you become arrogant because you think you know how the process works and in consequence are totally unprepared for things to go wrong.

They don’t call it that tricky second album for nothing. When you’ve sold your soul to make a record, write a book, anything of a creative success, then the biggest threat to creativity is to achieve that aim without any other goal in mind. Success is death to the artist that doesn’t watch themselves.

I’m not athletic by any means, but I imagine running a second marathon is so much worse than the first. It’s that point at which you are experienced enough to know what to expect, but still inexperienced enough for the body not to have locked in on the physical adjustments required to run 26 miles. The only similar experience I have is doing the 2 day a week fast. The first week was relatively easy, but the second week was hell. After that, it got easier, as my body adjusted to what was happening and I came to look forward to those two days a week when I had a small meal and drank nothing but water for a day. The only problem was when I stopped working and took a week off. Doing something for a second time is hard, but trying to do it for a second time when you have abandoned the first attempt, well that’s near impossible.

So here we are. The second month of trying to post a blog entry every day for a year and I have found the second month hard. Getting to the end of the first month was such an adrenalin rush, ticking off countless articles and skits that had been half formed in my mind for months, years even. February so far has been a bust. I have keep up the posts, but I’m back to posting 4 hours after the day has ended and posting scraps of things I wrote ten or fifteen years ago. This is the first original thing I’ve written since my birthday.

Well they say that admitting you have a problem is half the battle. That works with everything, drink, drugs, panic attacks. To just admit it to somebody is to defuse a time bomb in your own head. Shame is the greatest enemy that we face as sentient beings. Addictions are such a problem because they set up base camp in our conscious minds and go into a feedback loop of shame, where we feel like we can’t talk to anybody about what’s going on and the only intimacy we can feel is with the thing to which we are addicted. So we crave it even more.

Yet the thing that addicts rarely appreciate until it’s too late is that no one gives a fuck. Not really. That’s the honest truth. No cares if you have a drink problem or a heroin problem or a gambling addiction. You may think like your problems are the most important thing in the entire universe right now, but everyone else has got their own issues to deal with that loom just as large in their head, whether it’s hitting work targets, or wanting that one guy to ask them out, or making sure there’s enough cat food in for the weekend, or worrying about what’s going to happen in next week’s episode of that show they watch, your issues seem as trivial to them as theirs do to you.

Addiction is an extreme example to demonstrate to myself that no one but me gives a shit whether I blog every day or not. If you’re going to be an addict, just get on with it, let us know when you’re ready to talk. And if you’re going to write, just get on with it or quit. Doesn’t matter to anyone but you.

Which takes a lot of the pressure off. Why do anything at all? Why run a marathon or snort coke or collect stamps? It’s all a way to kill time, right? This is how I choose to kill time. By writing. Every day.

I’m here for the long haul. I hope you’ll continue to take an interest.

Get it done (or don’t, no one cares but you).

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