First, you'll have to excuse me for a self-indulgent entry.
Sometimes, writing comes naturally and easily... and, sometimes...
Particularly when you allow circumstance to get the better of you, and fail to take the proverbial bull by the goolies (or should that be 'horns'? -- Ed.) and give them a good yank and run for your life (still not sure about this line of reasoning... -- Ed.). How does a writer fail to do that proverbial, if nonsensical thing? By not writing every day.
Which isn't fair, because I have been writing, but nothing that I felt like publishing. There are the bare bones of my Seed essay entry, and a long essay about my own deconversion, several books that need urgently to be reviewed, and some other things that I've been kicking around. So is my fervour for science and science education diminished? No, of course not. Am I still angry about the lamentable standards upheld in politics, even by people who I might normally consider "the good guys"? Certainly not. Did I miss the series finale of Doctor Who? You will of course know that I didn't. And I'll be talking about all of that again, very soon.
Sometimes the outside world overtakes you, that's all.
If you spend too much time longing nostalgically for the things of your childhood and youth, then you're not fully engaged in the present. Maybe it's due to the influence of the children, but I've been thinking rather more about those days recently. It's not that life is bad right now. Uniformly and in all quarters, life is really quite good. Sure, there have been a few set-backs this year, but far worse have been weathered by better people than me. But that knowledge hasn't stopped the wanderings into parts of my own mind which I hadn't imagined could still be opened.
When I was a child, I used to spend idyllic hours listening to my parents' old records, especially recordings of the Kingston Trio. I still have fond memories of sitting in front of old console stereo set, listening to the "Live from the Hungry I" album. Although listening back now and realising that I couldn't possibly have understood it all, I knew that the music was fun and that it was as close as I would get to pop music in that household. Songs like "MTA" and "Take Her Out of Pity" and "All My Sorrows" and "Raspberries, Strawberries" and "Tom Dooley" and "The Sloop John B"... all of these form part of my mental soundtrack of those years.
But at the same time, it makes me wonder about something. The Trio clearly were not Establishment figures in any sense of the word. Raucous and sometimes innuendo-laden folk songs are not the stuff of conservatism and repression. However, these were my parents' record albums, as were countless other folk and jazz records. But they changed, to the point where this music no longer made any sense to them. And it makes me think, now: how futile is the quest to remain intelligent, skeptical, and liberal - all of which I steadfastly defend as good things to be - when nature may just take that away with the onset of senescence?
So yes, it's time for the metaphysical meta-crisis now. Which could also explain why I haven't been writing, I imagine. Too much in my own head, and little enough in the outside world. And that's probably where the first planks of the doors of the closed mind begin to grow, from little acorns of self-centric isolation, for hours at a time during the day. That's a dreadful metaphor, but I'll leave it in. I'm out of practise at writing, sure, but hopefully not beaten yet.