The above Diptic is an illustration of the difficulties in re-adjusting to self motivated research after a long time in an office based, 9-5, management role. My plan was to spend the week peering through the recesses of my mind for those ideas, half-ideas and whims that I had wanted to research over the last twelve months, but that I did not have the time to commit to. A process of flitting through note books, scraps of paper and a veritable leaf litter of post-it notes lay ahead. I have only been vaguely successful so far. Ah, but I have missed the one key and most pressing distraction of them all, which is of course Master Gent Jr.
To say that babies are time consuming is a massive understatement. Me and the missus have our work cut out just keeping up with the feeds, playing, random crying, sicking and very occasional sleeping. The routine will come but for the moment life with Charlie is an intricate web of tiny distractions. The weird sleep patters (confused ever more so by the Ashes) have made me considerably more sluggish than usual as well. This I do not complain about, he is a joy, but it’s a new world that I have to adjust to. In some respects going back to a 9-5 job would have been easier, but I know it would have broken my heart a little day by day. A spell in the library can be born so much easier by the knowledge that I can, for a while anyway, spend time with Charlie when otherwise I would not have been able to. The balance will tip toward work again, but not quite yet.
The Diptic illustrates on the left; the pile of work shirts I ritually threw away yesterday; top right illustrates my uncanny knack for distraction and procrastination (removing labels and putting them on other products, why not?); and thirdly a blank sheet of paper with a promising hint of an ideas list.
What takes precedence, writing or research? Primary sources of secondary source background reading? These are issues I’ve mulled over a little in writing this blog over the years, but suddenly they are so much more immediate. I know these skills are clattering around somewhere in the empty expanses of my brain, but they seem harder to grasp than I hoped. Just looking at my note taking over the last year, some of it is incomprehensible. They are the product of a busy man being distracted by a busy job I suppose but I used to be a whizz at it, well good enough to get an MA in a frankly obscure subject anyhow. Should I beat myself up about it? Of course not, I’m not going back to university, this isn’t degree research, this isn’t a Prince2 project, this is something new. Exciting? Yes. Daunting? Yes. Can I do it? Course I bloody can.