I was going to write about how English words mean something else in other languages – like ‘kiss’ in Swedish means ‘pee’. But I went and did some laundry instead.
Then, I was going to write about the current political climate re- America and Syria. But I went and had a cigarette instead.
I thought about writing about how words in the English language have changed their meaning – did you know ‘nice’ originally meant the opposite of today’s meaning. But I ended up reading and replying to e-mails.
You see, I’m a procrastinator, of the first order!
It isn’t that I don’t have an idea, I have plenty of ideas, I write little notes everywhere, my dining room is an homage to Post-It notes and notebooks. I will wander about the house looking for something to do, or I spend an hour (or two or three!) on the Playstation. or suddenly, there is a huge amount of laundry to be done! I have always been like this; seemingly directionless, a self-accused lazy person.
However, I have since realized that this is not the negative non-activity I first believed it to be. I watched a TED talk given by Tim Urban, in which he explains, with amusing visuals, what a dire procrastinator he was/is; https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator
and recognised many elements within myself. I also discovered that I belong to a, pretty awesome, group of individuals who are cast as procrastinators.
Victor Hugo – French writer Victor Hugo was apparently familiar with the muse of procrastination; preferring to do any and everything rather than focusing on his work. So how, I hear you ask, did he get busy again? Well apparently, he would strip naked, have his servant take away his clothes and lock him in his study until he resumed work! Well, at least he wasn’t distracted by doing the laundry!
“It may look to the untrained eye [like]I’m sitting on my arse all day” (I Spy, PULP)
Saint Augustine – Who’d have thunk it! A saint! (I feel so much holier than thou now) Apparently, Augustine was dreadful at getting things done and could relapse into bouts of distraction at the drop of a hat. He struggled to maintain his pious status all of the time and often relapsed into sin. His desire for sex often led him astray and over the years he forgot his holy path on more than one occasion. I know how he feels!!
“Dum de dum, people watching, so I’ll pretend to write..tum te tum…”
Leonardo Da Vinci – Da Vinci completed some of the most famous works of art ever to have been created, but it turns out that he was not very focused. Mona Lisa took 16 years to complete! Da Vinci was so renowned for his procrastination that one benefactor had to threaten him with bankruptcy to get him to finish a commissioned piece.Many of Da Vinci’s works remain unfinished.
You think you grow a beard like this without procrastinating?!
Margaret Atwood – Margaret Atwood apparently suffers from serious bouts of procrastination. She has had 14 novels, 9 short stories and 16 poetry books published, but, according to the author herself, her success is down to allowing herself to procrastinate for a few hours in the morning, and by the time she sits down to work mid-afternoon, she is finally able to focus.
The evil genius that is the procrastinator, mwah-ha-ha!
Douglas Adams – was as legendary for his procrastination as he was for his one-liners. “I love deadlines,” he once quipped. “I like the whooshing sound they make when they go by.” According to his friend, Steve Meretzky, “Douglas has raised procrastination to an art form. Hitchhikers Guide would never have gotten done if I hadn’t gone over to England and virtually camped out on his doorstep.” Adams struggled mightily with the writing of his final novel, The Salmon of Doubt, and would soak for hours in a bathtub instead of getting on with it. He had been working on it for ten years and still hadn’t completed a first draft when he died of a heart attack in 2001. The fragments were published posthumously, but they are far from forming a coherent novel.
The Dalai Lama – A great spiritual leader who travels the world teaching about compassion as the source of happiness in life. But before Dalai-hood, he was a student who found it hard to get motivated. “Only in the face of a difficult challenge or an urgent deadline would I study and work without laziness,”. And now? “You must not procrastinate,” he now teaches. “Rather you should make preparations so that even if you die tonight, you would have no regrets.”
Ha ha ha ha! You fools who work non-stop!
The Dalai Lama! I know! (he went and ruined it at the end when he talked about making preparations though.)
So, if you feel the guilt of the procrastinator, fear not,
you’re we’re in good company. So forward procrastinators of the world! Let us hold our heads high, unfurl the banner without sigil and sound the horn and feel proud of what we are! We are (not quite) mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore – 1st Meeting of The Procrastinators – meet at the park next Friday at 7 pm – if you can be bothered – or maybe you have some laundry to do? We could postpone it until next month…
N.B: there is swearing in the above video, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing…well, what can I say?!
P.S: I will be starting a series of interviews in the coming weeks; keep a lookout! And if there are any creative types out there who wish to be included, just drop me a line. Ta ta for now.