Planning for a present that will be the past in the future


Don’t panic! This is not about to be one of my vacuous philosophical rants (although vacuous it may well be). It is just a part of the ‘having things clearly mapped out’ side of my nature. (That the other part of my nature is ‘shit, just let it happen man’ has always been a problem for me.) You see, at some time in the future I will take a holiday and during that period, this blog will go on. It will do so not because I think that you cannot live without me – that a spell without my inane ramblings will leave you with an unfillable void in your life – but because I have discovered that it can. I have spotted the little button that allows me to schedule publication in advance which means that, providing I have the blogs ready, I can continue to publish even when the pc and I are not even vaguely adjacent.

So, I guess by now, you understand where I am going with this: my problem is how do I approach the blogs that will mark my absence? I cannot, at that point, write about my daily life as if it is… well… at that point my daily life because, patently, it will not then be so. My daily life may, at that actual point, feature shorts and beer and you will not be interested. I could, of course, write about what will then be today, but publish, as it were, tomorrow. My problem, as you will understand, we have known one another for some time now, is that by tomorrow I will have forgotten all about what I have written today (it having become yesterday) and, upon my return, I will not be able to pick up the thread.

I think of this blog like a bag of marbles that when dropped (they are my marbles – you know they are going to be dropped) scatter all over the room. Each day I pick up a new one and see where it takes me. They are disparate orbs, but all from the same bag. They are not the bag, but they are of it. They are all similar, but they have different little swirly colours to the centre. Most of them are found easily, but some run away and hide under the settee, or lurk in the dark somewhere, to be revealed and stood upon at 3am some future melancholy morning. It is the lurking marbles you will probably get whenever I am away. They are from the same bag, but for some reason they may well have rolled a little further away from home. In the salmagundi of my ramblings, they are the little bits at the end of the table that you do not notice until you walk away and see them on somebody else’s plate. By the time you get back to the table, they have all gone and you are forced to distract a child so that you can steal one from their plate whilst they are not looking.

My hope is that only the most diligent of you will spot it. So why, you might ask, are you wittering about it then? Why is it even a problem? Those of you who do not notice, will not notice, and those of you that do will just nod sagely and say, ‘I hope he remembered to put some suncream on his conk before he started to paddle’. Well, you see, it’s the planning. In the main, I publish only three times a week, but often write more. I might, for instance, write a piece on Sunday afternoon, having published Sunday morning, that I earmark for Tuesday evening, but then I will write a piece on Monday that I decide to use instead, so the original piece is pushed back to Thursday, but on Thursday I had planned to write a slightly longer piece and so it gets deferred again. This can carry on for a while, until eventually, through no fault of its own, the piece finds itself on the sub’s bench – not because it is not good enough, but because time has passed it by and I, as I do, have moved on (somewhere – no way of knowing where). Like all subs, these pieces will, some day, get their chance and, in the grand tradition of super-subs, they often turn out to be the bits that people like the best. So, each week I look over what I have produced and think ‘Which one can wait? Which is the least time-dependent?’ And then I will hold it back for whenever it might be needed. But the problem is, I won’t necessarily remember what I have held back. I may reference it in a later blog, not realising that it is actually now an earlier blog. I may find myself building a blog around a piece of jetsam from some previous blether that, in all the confusion, ends up following it. This, for me, is awkward. It requires a level of planning; a system of record-keeping, that is not natural to me. I always have things ‘mapped out’ in my head – I like to know what I have to do, but when that future washes up against the shore of what I have already done and worse, the former actually precedes the latter, I may founder. If, during the course of the months ahead, you notice that chronological ordering has taken something of a sidestep, that answers are proposed before questions are posed, then you will know why, although you may not know when. If you do, then you will also know that I might, at that future time, be wearing shorts and drinking beer – and I ask you to forgive me on both counts.

But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time
For who knows where the time goes?
Who Knows Where the Time Goes (Sandy Denny) – Fairport Convention