Why I want to write pointless things
Originally published in October 2021
Sometimes, I feel like I should take a notepad in my bag wherever I go, so I have the ability at any moment to whip out a battered, entertaining collection of thoughts, observations and letters; all penned in neat swirly writing, that would eventually be made into a David Sedaris-style memoir that I would eventually release to keep the ol’ retirement fund ticking along nicely.
Like the way softboi’s with floppy fringes flick through a battered copy of a penguin book on the tube to show that they read FOR FUN, I’d flourish my notepad with pride, as I jot down whichever passing thought came to significant enough to record, but not important enough to be immortalised on Twitter.
The idea occurred as I was on the 341 bus, travelling into work as the London cityscape passed me by. In the distance, I saw the razor-sharp architecture of the Shard and as my eyes focused on its surroundings, I noticed the stunning St Paul’s Cathedral in the forefront. I thought something like “old and new…there’s gotta be something poetic in that - I should jot that down”. However the problem is that I get motion sickness - so unlike the aforementioned softboi’s, I cannot read on transport and therefore, I cannot write.
So I had to remember this very interesting thought, wait 3 hours and eventually type it out on my laptop. I didn't end up thinking of anything poetic about the juxtaposition of old and new. Quite simply, it was a nice view and there really wasn't anything else that needed to be said.
But it got me wondering - how many ideas have been lost due to something as boring as logistics (or nausea in my case)? Did Shakespeare ever forget his quill during a moment of literary brilliance? Perhaps Paul McCartney had an idea for a legendary Beatles song but didn’t have anything to write on*? I reckon each one of us has had at least one fleeting idea for a multi-million dollar company, but got distracted by stroking a dog or concentrating on that idiot driving in front of you. It is a grave shame.
Did Shakespeare ever forget his quill during a moment of literary brilliance? Perhaps Paul McCartney had an idea for a legendary Beatles song but didn’t have anything to write on?
Sometimes I worry that my best ideas are going to be lost simply due to my inability to read in a moving vehicle without throwing up. It really is pathetic isn’t it? Humans have evolved over thousands of years, to create brilliant machines that can cross countries, soar the skies and sail the seas, yet all I can do on these methods of transport is listen to the small selection of audio I actually remember to download before I lose signal (that reminds me, I need to switch it up a bit - I love Certified Lover Boy more than the average person, but even I am tired of hearing Drake's voice every single time the internet drops on the Piccadilly Line).
So next time I will bring a notepad, but I’ll wait until my size 7’s are planted firmly on solid ground before I write something lame about how pretty the moon looks.
Publishers, form an orderly queue.
*yes I know he wrote lyrics on a napkin that you can currently see on display in the British Museum, but what if a napkin wasn’t available to him? What then?