Why Going Round In Circles May Be The Only Way To Getting Somewhere

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Thursday, 6.59pm

Sheffield, U.K.

I told you. I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxsutawney, and it’s always February 2nd, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Phil Connors (Bill Murray) in Groundhog Day

I have been reading about writers and one thing stuck in my mind.

A writer’s life, one said, is actually quite boring.

You do the same thing day after day – you get a routine going that works for you.

You get up at the same time.

Maybe you get up early and write, or maybe you go to work, come back and write then.

Maybe you get some time to exercise and you write after that.

A writer’s daily journal pretty soon must look something like this.

“Got up. Had breakfast. Wrote. Had lunch. Wrote. Had dinner. Watched telly. Went to bed.”

Well, that’s an ideal daily routine anyway – for many of us who want to do some writing family and work and odd jobs get in the way.

Which is why it’s important to schedule time to do the writing when no one else is around if you do have those distractions – like first thing or late at night.

If you have watched Groundhog Day you’ll remember that once Phil realises that he’s going to live the same day forever he starts to use it well.

He learns to play the piano, do ice sculpture and be nice to people.

It’s a repeated game, one you play every day and once you get used to the idea that every day you get a chance to do it again.

But this time you get to do it better.

Not to be depressing or anything but I count down my writing days assuming that I’m going to have a few decades still – which works out to 13,818 days left, counting today.

Not as long as you think, given we all start out with around 30,000.

Less than half actually.

Now, for some people that means that they need to go and see things, travel, have experiences, meet more people.

For some of us that means we want to read and write.

Which is why I found coming across a collection of Isaac Asimov’s autobiographical material edited by his daughter, Janet J. Asimov so interesting.

It’s titled “It’s been a good life”, after what he said at the end.

In the book he talks of a dream he once had.

The context is that he’s not religious and when you think of the kind of heaven different religions suggest is waiting for you they don’t seem that attractive – to him anyway.

Would you want to go to Valhalla and spend all your time either eating and drinking or fighting everyone else?

What would you do if you went to heaven and had the rest of eternity ahead of you?

In Asimov’s dream, he’s died and in heaven – he’s knows it’s there because of the clouds and fields and the angel smiling at him.

He explains that he’s an atheist and probably not supposed to be here – and the angel tells him, rather sternly, that that’s their decision, not his.

So then he looks around and asks “Is there a typewriter here that I can use?”

The point is that he knows he’s been in heaven for the last half century already because his heaven is in the act of writing itself.

It would be nice, I suppose, if we were all so lucky in being able to do what we want to do with our time here.

If you aren’t, however, going round in circles for a while may be one way of getting you there.

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh

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