August 28, 2018

6.30 am: I’d slept from 11.30 to now, which was good for me these days. On waking, decisions to be made, transitions to be either planned or completed, and projects awaiting, pressed in upon my, as yet, unfocussed consciousness. My field of vision has, now, contracted to a three-year span. I’m not planning major enterprises beyond that period. The caveat to this is, as always, that I ‘do not know what a day may bring forth’. This day, tomorrow, or the next day may unseat everything thereafter. One’s life, and the lives of loved ones and friends, can be swept away in an instant; consistent rude health is guaranteed to no one; and the securities of home, employment, and finance are illusions. Anything beyond the now is conjectural.

7.30 am: Breakfast, followed by a communion at 8.15 am. (There’re times when tears are our food and drink.):

8.45 am: May this day count for something. The pullover season had begun again. Hospital appointment confirmed and some incoming emails put to rout, I began constructing a complex PowerPoint slide to encapsulate the conceptual map of the theology of sound that I’d sketched yesterday. It was only at this point that I fully comprehended the existing whole into which I’d need to shoehorn a discussion about sound, art, and theology. My mind perceives of, and organises, complexities in terms that aren’t so unlike its approach to pedalboard design:

PowerPoint slides should be illuminating without being distracting, to the point, well-designed, and (where appropriate) inventive. One’s creativity ought to permeate all aspects of a presentation: writing, delivery, and illustration. Having applied the animations, I returned to writing.

Over lunch, I worked on postgraduate admin and preparation for teaching tomorrow:

2.00 am: On with writing. I’ve a background cold fogging my thoughts. (‘Keep hydrated and bring on the comfort snacks, John!’ That’s what I appreciate, a ‘muse’ who’s sensitive to my bodily needs too.) Dark chocolate square in one hand and iced elderflower cordial in the other, I rallied and pressed forward. By mid afternoon, I’d developed some traction and a ‘voice’ – I could now imagine (hear in my mind’s ear) myself saying this stuff at the conference. Afterwards, I took a little respite listening to the experimental guitarist Joileah Concepcion. (Shades of King Crimson, post-1981.) She’s one of those guitarists who makes me want to play.

7.30 pm: After dinner, I’d watched a fascinating self-disclosure by the sport’s presenter Adrian Chiles about his drink dependency. He has a heroic battle ahead of him. One feature of his lifestyle that struck me was how much time he and his drinking associates had for socialising. Academics, these days, have little if any social life. Almost every evening is set aside for work. It’s not that they’re workaholics; the job demands it. (School teachers and doctors share this experience.) For such, drinking (and alcoholism for some) is domesticated. And it’s often the pressures of the job that drive them to it.

Back to it. (A whip is heard cracking remorselessly in the background.) Keep writing! I was so tired that I could hardly focus. And there was a late night ahead of me, still:

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