Midweek Fix: The Silent Thief
I don’t talk about my father much.
There’s no particular reason – we don’t get along much. We never did, even though my mum and siblings were fond of reminding me that I am the one most like him. I guess everyone has daddy issues; I have mine just like everyone else. More than anything however; I owe a lot of who I am to him.
He taught me to love music, film and books. My father is the most widely-read man I know; and I do not say that lightly. His book collection (depleted for the most part now) was enough to make any book collector green with envy. I read Lord Of The Rings (the complete, ) at fourteen – not because I wanted to but because I got in trouble with my father, and that was my punishment.
I’ll tell you later.
Among many other things, my father taught me the value of time.
I was still in primary school when he would wake my sister and I up at five in the morning. We would join him in the basement, work with him for an hour then go get ready for school. We were out of the house by seven.
In the evenings when he got home, he would sit us down in front of his 8-track reel-to-reel record player, play a Bob Marley record or Fela or Jim Reeves or Dolly Parton or Abba or any of his thousands of records and ask us to listen. After listening to a song, he would turn it off and ask if we understood what said song was about.
I’m sure today’s ‘enlightened’ world would see waking up a child at four/five am to work for an hour as abuse. I didn’t – and I still don’t. Those times instilled in me an appreciation for time, for moments and how important they are, the value of hard-work and how something is worth nothing if it isn’t worth your all.
One of the greatest challenges I’ve had to overcome as a creator is procrastination.
There’s this ‘short attention span’ ‘I-can-always-do-it-later’ bone that seems to grow in the heads and heart of creative people. They/we spaz out at every opportunity; zone in and out of conversations, can hardly sit still through a romantic movie. If it’s not thrilling, exciting, exploding, funny – count us the hell out.
Well. For the most part.
It’s almost counter-intuitive. Creative people have some of the most ‘boring’ jobs – sit behind a desk and stare at a computer screen for hours and you’re the one doing what you’re looking at on the screen. Before long, restlessness sets in and we’re looking for some stimulation, some excitement. We binge watch Luke Cage, drink Alomo and Red Bull and download porn like it’s going out of cyberspace.
Well. For the most part.
There’s that habit of constantly standing up in the middle of work, taking a stroll, a smoke – whatever keeps us continuously motivated. I mean, can you imagine how much progress a writer would make if he sat at his desk and did nothing but type for six hours straight?
But how many of us can do that? There’s always something interrupting. Phones ringing. Facebook buzzing. Messenger pinging. WhatsApp vibrating. Twitter mentioning.
And time crawls away from us inexorably.
Discipline is of the utmost importance. Discipline is key to almost anything – anything can be done or had with discipline. And that is probably the most important thing my father taught me; discipline.
I can go on and on – but the thing is this; it’s the only way to get anything done. Set reasonable goals. Make realistic targets. Buckle down – and get to cracking.
Either you will or you won’t.
There are no guarantees. No certainties – well; except that none of us is getting out of here alive. You know this. I know this. We all know this.
So what the fuck are we standing around waiting for permission for?
all images courtesy Google. Images remain the rights of the copyright holders which; in this case is not me. Be advised.