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The date as catalyst

Sometimes it is the simplest thing that causes everything to swim into focus. Life has been a confusing welter for the last couple of weeks, as work commitments have spiralled to an unprecedented degree, and everything else has withered in the face of them. It’s hard to think when there’s a lot to think about, the brain cries out for breathing space. At its worst, the sensation causes a disproportionate sense of angst. Replying to an email becomes a Herculean task, doing laundry or washing up delivers a sense of guilt and resentment, surely there’s other stuff I need to be getting on with. The paperwork, the writing, the inbox, these essays, the running; all sit and glare at me as I get up later than intended, don’t find time, watch in horror as the half hour I set aside disappears in two or three chunks of something other than what I intended.

Mentally, it’s not an ideal space to be in. Particularly when I’ve a sizeable poetry reading in Manchester this evening, and until a few scant hours ago didn’t have much of a clue what I was going to be reading, another suffocating layer of mild horror. But, like a break in the clouds my sense of purpose was recovered by the simplest thing, in this case a Radio 4 announcer stating the time and date. Why yes, you’re right, it is six o clock, it is the fifteenth of October. I’d better get on with it then.

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