Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 07/11/17


This is not a piece.

It is a piece about a piece.

More than even that, it is a piece about a piece which no longer exists.

I had been desperately trying to write a new piece about the situation in and around Catalunya, because so much had happened since the last one, and there was so much which (or so I deluded myself into thinking) needed saying.

But I had put it off and put it off again, recognising that I would have to put my thoughts into some sort of sequence, some sort of clarity before I could possibly launch into it. But at such times of great annoyance, the internal landscape of what passes for the remains of my mind resembles nothing more than the smoke barrages which they used to lay down immediately prior to a major offensive; I knew that there were targets there to be hit, but I didn't have the slightest idea where the hell exactly they were.

The effect of not being able to get anything out creates the psychic equivalent of extreme constipation, and often causes the same facial contortions. And there is no method or mechanism which will expedite the necessary evacuation (not even that delineated in the old schoolboy joke about the constipated mathematician who finally worked it out with a pencil).

At neither eliminatory endeavour should one strain, for fear of causing serious damage - or at the very least a long, low moan of agony - but I finally sat down early last Sunday evening to try to extract whatever it was which was causing my creative costiveness. After an hour or so, I had flushed out about a dozen paragraphs and still hadn't arrived at my main point. I left it for the evening.

I came back to it on Monday night and, of course, couldn't remember what the point was I wished to make in the paragraph I had unwisely left unfinished the night before. I stared at it for about ten minutes, willing it to stick out a digital digit and point me in the direction I had intended to take.

And then I gave up. I closed the text editor, went into Windows Explorer and deleted the file altogether.

So it is that - at least for the time being - you will be spared my extended spasm of outrage at not only what the Madrid régime has been doing in the last month, but at the pusillanimous responses of those in the political and media worlds who would have us believe that they are the defenders of liberty and democracy (yes, Mijnheer Verhofstadt, I do mean you!).

Consider yourself to have had a lucky escape. I might return to it for the wretchedly-customary End Of Year Piece, which I have to start thinking about soon (not doing it is not an option; I would get the same feeling of blockage as I've already described, such pieces being at least as much a product of my lower intestine as of my upper consciousness).

It has given me a chance to reflect briefly on the inherent cussedness of creative tendencies, however. For there are some who seem seldom if ever to be affected by Chronic Obstructed Authoring Disease. My old chum Alex is one such; he seems always to be writing away, mostly on creating new rôle-playing universes or new story arcs for existing ones.

And then there's Philip Challinor, of course. There seldom seems to be a time when he isn't producing something new. Indeed, only the other day he produced this Tweet:

Tweet by Phillip Challinor: 'OVER 2000 WORDS WRITTEN YESTERDAY...'

Had I been on Twitter (something which I'm still considering, although it'll have to wait at least until I get a better phone), I would have sought to puncture the dear boy by replying:

"And many of them different, too!"

I remember an anecdote which I think Alex told me many rotations ago about the legendary Ray Bradbury. He was at a convention, surrounded as ever by a bunch of eager young acolytes, who were trying to one-up-and-one-down each other by describing in joyfully self-pitying tones the problems they had had with writer's block. One of them had endured it for two months. That was nothing, he was assured, some of us suffered it for two years, etc.

Bradbury remained silent.

Then, at a convenient pause, he said quietly:

"I had writer's block once."

His worshippers fell back, stunned. The Great Man had had writer's block! Bradbury continued:

"It was the dullest twenty minutes of my life."

Something wicked...

Well, I'm glad I got all that out, at least. I feel much bett...oh, hell! There's no paper!!