Monday, 14 January 2013

Daydream Believer.

Daydreaming, apparently it's good for us, so says the presenter on Radio 4's Today programme, as he ironically wakes me from a wonderful dream (it was erotic, and no I'm not telling). 

Now I know what you're thinking, you can't believe everything you hear on Radio 4 (what!) or everything you read in the paper and often I don't, especially if I wrote it myself, but in this case I'm inclined to believe it because this is something I'm good at; and this does not apply to most things they say are good for us, like exercising or doing crosswords, or eating blueberries. I'm not good at any of those things. Well, I do exercise, I suppose, on my rowing machine, but I wouldn't say I'm particularly good at it, whereas daydreaming - I am bloody brilliant at that. 

Oh look! Something in the garden, I think it's a squirrel... or it might be a cat, oh my word it's a fox. I like foxes, so characterful, so sad-looking... 

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, daydreaming. John Humphrys says it makes us more creative and I'm sure this is true. I've had some of my best ideas while staring out of this window at foxes, the one right here next to my desk

Trees...they are so pretty aren't they? Even in winter, so skeletal and spiky...

But back to daydreaming, which was how I came up with the idea of acquiring that piece of abandoned garden behind ours. If I hadn't been staring out of this window at the foxes bedding down in the long grass and nose-high weeds over there, I would never have come up with that plan to find out who owned it, which led to us leasing it and knocking the fence down and getting rid of all the weeds and having a bigger garden for the boys, all through a bit of daydreaming. 
So, daydreaming - good for me and mine, bad for foxes... 

I wonder where the foxes go when they're not in our garden?

And were it not for daydreaming I would not be able to work because what I do for a 'living' (don't make me laugh) doesn't involve lots of skill or aptitude, like being a teacher or a nurse or an accountant, having to teach or nurse or add numbers together, DOING things in other words. No, what I do, mostly, is make things up. This applies to writing and directing, which is what I do when I can, which admittedly is not often.

So, daydreaming serves me particularly well in this regard because it is handy for both the working periods, when
 I stare out of the window and make things up before typing them as quickly as I can so they don't drift away again out of the top of my head; and the non-working ones, when I just do the first staring out of the window bit, without the second typing it all up bit and which, sadly, tend to massively outweigh the former occasions.

Frankly I don't understand people who don't do it. Recently I interviewed a lot of mums about their hobbies for an article in The Times, one that has yet to see the light of day, one that I'm beginning to think will never see the light of day because the editor who commissioned it has been promoted, moved upstairs to bigger and better things, unlike me, still staring out of the same window... 

Look... it's quite dark already and it's only lunchtime. The sky is so white. Winter, trapped inside, such an introspective season don't you think?

So, where was I?  Oh yes, all these mums I interviewed had one thing in common, whether they ice skated every morning at 6 am before taking the kids to school, or wind surfed every weekend, or played Dungeons and Dragons (really), they didn't like, and I quote, "sitting around doing nothing," it horrified them. They were all, to a man, or rather mum, absolutely terrified of doing nothing, whereas for me that is the aim of the day.

I get up, I get children to school, I go to coffee shops, I wash up, I tidy up, I empty bins and buy food and put washing on and make phone calls and write things at the computer, for money if I can and for no money if not, but as I do all these things I have one ultimate goal in mind: to finish. To put the kettle on, plonk on the sofa with my feet up, surrounded by reading material: newspapers, a book or two, the iPad, and after a while to let it all drop away from me onto the floor and just stare into space...

This is when I take off on flights of fancy: I am sitting on a beautiful empty beach/someone has given me a really well-paid weekly column on a national newspaper/I buy a red soft-top Mini with all the money/George Clooney or Stephen Mangan or Daniel Craig (but only as Bond) knocks on the door in the middle of the afternoon and we have passionate, wordless sex on the sitting room floor, which nobody ever finds out about (yeah, well, it's not just men who fantasise about these things, you know). 

Yep, I would go so far as to say that daydreaming is my absolute favourite thing. Nearly. Except perhaps for sleeping, which inevitably comes very close on its heels. 

Me, staring out of the window at trees, some time ago.


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  1. I join you in saluting the daydream. (Much to my husbands constant annoyance) I mean, it's ok to continue daydreaming when someone's talking to you...right...? X

  2. Definitely okay. Especially if it is one's husband! (Only kidding.) x

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