Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Seeing as this blog is as much to give me an outlet to practice non-fiction based writing as it is to hopefully provide vaguely useful insight for anyone reading, I really dislike missing more than a day or two at a time. That said, today is a rumination on a word which centers around much of what I do and much of what distracts me from what I do. (Or rather, what I personally believe I should be doing).

Cheers, for procrastination. Double cheer for you if the procrastination is the million other things you have to do to keep networking with people, keep your house liveable and individuals physically in your life, happy.

Look! A daffodil!

Most procrastination is intentional however and therefore it is something which interests us enough that we take the time to fill ourselves up with that act. For me, its being very attached to the computer and the endless sources of information, particularly up and coming geek related news. Reading other blogs, ongoing webcomic and manga and chapters of whatever novel I am tearing through also fall under what I would call procrastination.  Thing is, I enjoy all of that because they afford me some source of new knowledge, whether it is how a favourite character or tense fictional situation is developing or what's the latest Marvel movie news or event of geek girl empowerment.

In short, this procrastination gives me amusement. I find dictionary definitions to be fascinating because they often allow for multiple interpretations of a single word. The ability to interpret is, of course, a writer's best friend. Particularly if you are designing a different society but are writing in English. Creating new meanings for regular old words is the best way to sneak in a different flavour.

Amusement: noun
1. anything that amuses; pastime; entertainment. 
2. the act of amusing.
3. the state of being amused; enjoyment.
What sticks out for me right now in that particular series of definitions are the words "pastime" and "entertainment." Amusement is not just mindless entertainment and procrastination, it is also an active pastime which usually ends with some sort of product created by the one engaging in said pastime. Thus, all those things I feel I "should" be doing, like slowly rebuilding my wrist muscules with increments of piano practice and ice, or all the short stories and subsequent contests and magazines I am aiming for, plus this blog (and other social media I use), or the music theory analysis I work through in preparation for an exam, or the exercise I do at the gym or hiking outdoors are all pastimes which should afford me the same level of amusement as the things which qualify as entertainment. 

Take a second here and think about your own pastimes and entertainments. 

This is where things get a bit tricky. 

Taking your pastimes and entertainments you have thought of, now compare them (unless you are faster then me and already did that). Would you say your pastimes give the same level of amusement as your entertainment? 

This was my conclusion: Some pastimes which require less time or effort definitely match the same level of amusement of entertainments. For a time. 

See the difference between the amusement of pastimes and entertainments really comes down to time. Pastimes take more effort and time (in general) but will provide a longer term stream of amusement than the seconds or minutes offered by a Youtube video, a movie, or a blog post (like this one). 
Does that mean you should feel guilty for engaging in the entertainment and not nose-diving a prodigy level of pastime practice from the second you wake up to the second you drop to sleep? 


Of course not. Again however, the intellectual understanding of this and the actual act of living it are two different beasts which bounce between the level of a goldfish and a cougar. 
Playing around with the fad of breaking words up to see other meanings within them, like "impossible" actually meaning "I'm possible" lead me to noticing a key word within that of "amusement." 


The Muse comes right from ancient Greek storytelling and has pervaded through Western literature since then as the personification of creativity, of ideas, of forming disconnected blobs into piquant expressions of the human condition (or something). 

The Falstaff of Greek comedy!
So every time you engage in something which provides "amusement" you are poking your personal Muse. So what? You are probably saying. Here I am, scrolling my favourite news site, or reading a magazine at the dentists office, just amusing myself on some level, how is that article on pygmy marmosets going to spark my creativity? 

You'll remember it on some level. Maybe it'll get a spot on the bookshelf or under the desk in your mind. It most likely will land in the rubbish bin. Regardless of whether or not a bit of entertainment amusement sparks something that second that sends you on a passionate search for ways to help the pygmy marmoset or you idly think its a funny name before moving on to an article on the engines of Formula One's, an impression will be left. 

Sort of like dust in the corner of your room or toothpaste spit on a mirror. It'll be there. It'll spark a story about small things or maybe a desire to learn more about the Amazon that leads to a trip and a book of jungle photography. Somehow, even the smallest, silliest bit of amusement will influence you. (I try to lean away from the negatives but yes, maybe bored scrolling through Youtube will put you off vlogs and instead you'll set up a podcast). 

So many theatres in Greece but so many people through time. Who sat there? Think of the conversations.

Whatever the outcome of your entertainment amusement, you will be influenced, positively or negatively and you're Muse will grow, just like it does when you intentionally stretch it with a pastime. 

Really, the bottom line is, as always, balance. You won't create some new business unless you put in effort but a t.v. show might have inspired the idea. Set aside the time you are half asleep for entertainment and the time you are most fired up and inspired for your pastimes. Though even then, there are always days when you have to slog through your pastime to get any creative juice out just remember the moon. Some weeks it is bright and full, or nearly so, and other weeks it is practically nonexistent. The same goes for how easy your creative output is every day. 

So, really, just set some goals, with some boxes of time and be mentally intentional with everything you do and you will always find a Muse waiting there for you. 

Happy creating!

No comments:

Post a Comment