SUGS AND THE BIRTH OF A NOTION

Okay yes it is true, I have been away. I could pretend that it was only a matter of days, just casually pick up where I left off but that would seem disingenuous, a bit like the guilty emails I send to my mother that read as a seamless spontaneous outpouring but actually take three disjointed weeks to write. The question of my absence, the where did you go, is moot. I could argue writer’s block, but in my experience there is no such thing, it is just a more creative way of saying lazy. So actually maybe it was writer’s block.

Blogs are tricky, you start out with such ace reporter enthusiasm but quickly end up hack journalist, turn from writing because you want to toward writing because you have to. I never find writing to a deadline fun, it’s not meant to be I suppose, otherwise it would be called a sparkly line. The problem is good writing is hard work and time consuming. You can sit around waiting for pure inspiration to fall on your head, good luck with that, or you can get your hands dirty.

But how do you nurture an idea without losing what lifted your eyes in the first place? Without affecting the outcome? How do you capture a spark in a jar? Sometimes I stalk a thought all over the place and when I finally catch up to it and I see it clearly for the first time we are both changed, the original notion and my intended representation of it altered. It can be unexpected but it is rarely unpleasant. Any observance changes outcome, this was something that was completely lost on star trek and their dogmatic insistence on the prime directive. I have never understood nature programs that watch animals in extremis and deny them assistance based on the idea that what we are watching is the natural process. Of course it isn’t. There is nothing natural about a couple of sweaty guys in a camouflaged tent filming a baby wildebeest’s increasingly futile attempts to escape a muddy pit, or a crocodile or a lion. The mere act of being there has changed the circumstances entirely. Saving an animal from certain death somehow goes against nature but recording its death doesn’t? Save the wildebeest I say!

We have a pet seagull. There I have said it. We intervened. A baby gull, mottled and flightless fell out of its nest and on to our 2nd storey windowsill where it got stuck. We could have ignored it, let it fade away, observed its travails through the window but no, instead we ignored the prime directive and got involved, fed it some chocolate brioche. Hey what do I know about a seagull’s diet and besides I was out of herring. We named him Sugs and he lived on our sill under our care until he fledged and moved to a roof across the road. He has visited our windowsill every day since and taps on the glass with his beak when he wants something. We exercise caution of course, as he is basically a psychopath with a pair of scissors but we are fond of him. He has a seagirl, Mugs and a family of his own now. He spends his days screaming at nothing, hovering into the wind and pooing from a great height on tourists. I don’t feel it was wrong to save him as it occurs to me that he is the very embodiment of a good idea and that raising a notion, even on an inappropriate diet of ham and cheese sandwiches is always better than letting it die.

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