Quiet, isn't it?
Without meaning to, and not for the first time in the last decade, this blog's gone into sleep mode over the last few months. I would blame being trapped in the time distortion field that surrounds babies - you know, the one where you look up and realise this isn't the month you thought it was - but Wifey's been blogging away like a star despite being caught in the same toddler temporal flux. It's reached a point where I either write a post or pull the plug. And despite the temptation (there's a post in draft called TTFN) I'm not quite ready to let the sky fall on this little corner of the net just yet. So what's been going on?
That said, it's also profoundly knackering. My 'work' work days are extra long to make up for the shortened week without reducing my contracted hours, and anyone who's cared for a baby on their own knows that brings its own special kind of exhaustion, the way you can never just sit back and relax (except for blessed, blessed naptime) and you're never alone. It's a relief when the weekend comes and we're able to share the happy burden.
Of course, daddy daycare could be prime blog fodder, if only to counteract the pervasive image of men being utterly incapable of looking after a baby on their own (I've been doing this for three months now, and he's still alive). But to be honest there's so much to fit into what very limited free time is left nowadays - and as anyone who's read this far will have noticed, I take far too long to say far too little. Besides, Wifey is doing a much better job of blogging about Bagl than I would, and I'd hate to find myself oversharing Bagl's childhood across the unforgetting Internet. I trust Chatiry to find the right balance, not myself.
Still, while last year just seemed to be utterly consumed with work, baby and what sleep there was to be had, it's now not so overwhelming. Evening time isn't spent trying to get Bagl to sleep for hours - more often than not he drops off as soon as he's in the cot - or cleaning & sterilising 6 Dr Brown bottles (my god, I do not miss those blasted things) But now that I've got this precious time, I'm spending too much of it just consuming - other people's writing (be it blog posts, Twitter, journalism or literature), other people's creativity. Even when I have blogged in the last year, more often not its ultimately been about extolling the virtues of something someone else has done, rather than an original thought of my own. Nothing wrong with that per se, but I shouldn't kid myself that such amateur criticism is a form of creativity in its own right. Surely I'm capable of more than just that?
There's an element of mortality to all this reflection. It's been so, so, so easy to let evenings vanish online, catching up on Twitter, the day's blogposts, all those articles waiting to be read on Pocket, and repeat (at least I've shaken loose of the annoying timesuck of Facebook, increasingly mirroring Myspace just before the fall). In a way it's satisfying, easy to feel that you've done something worthwhile in that time by learning/seeing/hearing something new, but I've increasingly felt that I'm just kidding myself, taking the easy way out - it's so much easier to consume than create. It's understandable - after working loooong days at the office, or looking after a teething sprog, who wants to challenge themselves further once downtime finally comes?
But again I imagine those deathbed regrets, those moments before a hopefully painless and shrapnel-free death. Whatever happens, I'm not going to wish I'd spent more time on Twitter, on blogs, on YouTube, on DVD boxsets. I know I'll rue that time, time that could have gone towards creating something new rather than churning through a never ending stream of other people's own thoughts, opinions and work without adding anything myself. I need to make more of an effort to make my own art, my own content, put whatever skills and ideas I might still have to use, rather than just lie back and enjoy (or, more likely, skim through) the fruits of someone else's labour.
So that's what's going to happen, hell, what is happening. I've a fistful of unfinished creative business from the last decade that I've never managed to forget. It's work that no one is waiting for, no one is expecting - I'm deliberately keeping shtoom about the specifics to everyone but the Missus so I can find my own pace, my own speed, and if I fail at least I'll fail in private. Of course, it doesn't change the fact that my priorities remain family first, paid work second, creative stuff a distinct third, but by getting a better grip on my time, I'm finally starting to work out how to fit them all into my life. Even if the projects I'm working on all come to absolutely nothing - a very distinct possibility - there's a thrill just in trying, in doing, dusting down parts of my brain that have laid dormant for so damn long.
The blog's not going anywhere just now, and I've a few posts waiting to be scrawled, but things are still likely to be pretty quiet until I've got something final to show. Being creative again, properly creative for the first time in years - it's scary, empty page scary, but by god it feels good to be thinking like this again. I don't intend to waste it.