The observation that the days of the week have lost all meaning is hardly a unique one. The repetition of eat, sleep, work in lockdown has only emphasised the Groundhog Day nature of my life. This is particularly true of work. I am currently wading my way through the writing/thumbnail stage of a new project.
They don’t look like much but they are a vital phase in the making of a book. The words and scribbled drawings are placeholders for the final pages but the hundreds of small choices I make now will dictate if the book will work in its completed form. It’s hard on the ol’ noggin.
It should hardly be news to me, a grizzled veteran of over a dozen books, that making a graphic novel is a lot of work and yet I am continually surprised by how much work it is. Several months into this part of the process and, not being a patient person by nature, I am frustrated by just how long it takes to sketch out even the rudiments of a page or a scene, never mind an entire story.
It doesn’t help that when I am writing I can’t listen to podcasts, my usual method of creating the illusion I share my creative space with friends. The friends might have a worrying obsession with examining murders in grisly detail or discussing baffingly obscure subjects I have no interest in, but I prefer planning the perfect murder/Scottish Presbytarianism to my tinnitus.
I also find music with a beat or lyrics too much of a distraction when I am struggling to put one word next to another. This does rather limit what I can listen to when working. Fortunately I have found the perfect soundtrack to lure my easily distracted brain into a creative groove. Every day of the week is now Thursday Afternoon. The Brian Eno album is a Schrödinger’s cat of music. It is both there and not there depending on my mood. A soothing lava lamp of amorphous sounds without a destination or desire to call attention to itself. It pootles along in the background on an endless loop without an obvious beginning, middle or end. Truly the soundtrack for our times.
However, these endless Thursday’s have been interrupted by real ones of late. I had my first jab a few Thursday’s ago and Phil had hers the Thursday after. I even got a sticker. A reminder that time does not stand still outside the confines of my studio. The clocks have gone forward and restrictions are beginning to ease while I’ve been fretting over my thumbnails.
Only yesterday there was a queue to get into the garden centre and I noticed the car park of the local driving range was full to the gunnels. Not only can you now smack a ball into the far distance with a stick but you can play a round of FootGolf, “an exciting mix of football and golf”. FootGolf sounds utterly stupid and yet, considering how 2021 has been so far, it could also be the most thrilling Thursday afternoon of my life.