I spent a lot of time between the ages of 11 and 16 just staring out of the window. I don't know if my Dad's words 'If you're bored you must be a cabbage' were influencing me (they do now) but I know I had the feeling that something would come along to ease the dullness of teenage life and I simply had to wait. I did. It did.
These days my life is never dull. Moments of reprise from busyness can be rare.
One thing I do know. That slight tendency to inward-lookingness. The very edge of depression without ever crossing over into it, where I can see down but have no inclination to jump. That is the place of creativity.
Today, a day off, I had to be up early to take my car for a service. The garage is on one of those anonymous out of town malls where there is a cinema. Not open for three more hours. There are also the usual fast-food chains and loads of lifestyle destinations, oops I mean shops.
Looking out over a rainswept dual-carriageway from the most pedestrian unfriendly McDonalds in the west, I have never felt more alive. It is as if the words from the past kick in and this is my cue to do something useful; to make a difference myself without help. To get the lyrics of the song the wrong way round, I have to get down in order to get up.
I don't know if this is a key to managing depression. I would never describe myself as having been depressed. But so many of my more creative friends, especially the musicians, seem to have to embrace the downness in order to write.
I wrote this haiku over breakfast. It is Valentine's Day:
These roses are red,
Enhanced by the glow of the
Petrol station lights.
Let us not go into its quality as poetry. The haiku is a one-liner by any other name. Chuckle if you want. Let us notice that it is quite bleak. Cynical about love and cheap expressions thereof. It uses the greyness of the weather to comment on the greyness of relationships. Petrol station flowers say 'I nearly forgot' louder than 'I remembered'.
Sorry to be writing a critique of my own work but it is to help us understand how I got there not to draw attention to the verse. It would not have happened if I had been enjoying the start to the day.
It is also 14/02/2014 which excites me more than most as I like being alive on interesting numbers days. The love of my life tells me that is both very sad and also why she loves me. So at least one person understands.
I need to move to another coffee bar. This one has exhausted its possibilities.