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Black Elk

Getting past the committee…

October 13th, 2007

Imagine a rugby pitch with a player dodging his way past the opposing team and touching the ball down behind the line. Well writing this blog is like that for me. I give myself ten minutes at the start of each day and my job is to get past these guys to post this message.

My opposing team is, however, a little unusual. There is a lawyer in his city suit, an aesthete with a bow tie and glasses (a cross between the camp art critic Brian Sewell and that man with a bowtie and glasses who used to be on television – Robin Day?) and a rare breed – a grammarian (a schoolmistressy type with a bun and glasses again). These are my ‘inner critics’ who screen everything I write usually. The lawyer says “Is this statement true? How do you know? Can you prove it?” The school ma’am says “You can’t write that – look at all those split infinitives!” and finally Brian Sewell-Day surveys the sentence and says “Oh for heaven’s sake how clumsy – where’s the art, the style, the beauty in this? Can’t you write something more uplifting, more beautiful?”

So when I write about Bishops and actresses it may seem trivial (which it is!) but it represents a triumph at another level. It got past the committee! So I’m experimenting with this medium as a way of stimulating spontaneity, encouraging flow and ease of expression.

Now here’s the twist: it might seem like these critics are just a nuisance and I should attempt to fire them – eliminate them with intense therapy or something, but instead I’ve realised that they’re really on my side. We’re work colleagues and we just need to learn how to work together well – and we’re playing this game for fun and to improve our working style.  I’m going into the shower room with them now!