Thursday, 29 May 2008


I'm unable to walk past a football without kicking it. If the opportunity is there I'll take it. Do a few keep-ups or something. If I'm out and see others playing football my attention is drawn to the ball and away from whomever I might be with. I can't stop thinking about it. I mentally rehearse what I'll do should the ball come my way. Obviously I'll control it and pass it back from whence it came. But between the control and the passing back might come a few bonus moves. Yes, a few keep-ups, but maybe also a few more specialised moves, my favourite being the one where I kick the ball above my head and then, as it lands between my feet, step over it and use my right heel to flick it back over my head onto my left foot to continue the juggling. The difficulty of the move depends on a few different factors:

- My footwear
- Underfoot conditions
- Who I'm with
- Who is playing football (the less threatening-looking the players, the more likely I am to be a bit flash. Little kids offer the best opportunity to show off. They're easily impressed)

As often as not the ball will come my way and I'll get to kick it. I'll then feel a little bit of a warm glow and am normally unable to suppress a smile. I'm happy, just for a while. I'm doing that which comes naturally to me and it feels right. Having a football at my feet generally makes me feel that way, in any circumstance. This is a constant, I've never felt any different. I don't attain the same feelings of comfort from any other activity, with the possible exception of being at Glastonbury festival (less than four weeks away!!!).

The above is just a laboured preamble to what I really want to say here, which is that I don't get those feelings of comfort and satisfaction from writing. It's a struggle. The words rarely, if ever, flow with any kind of ease or confidence. When I play football there are normally a few who have to try harder than the others to get even the basics right. This is how feel when I'm writing and I don't like it.

This is my first post for over two months. Since that time I've wasted many, many hours doing next to nothing when I could have been writing. There are prison inmates with less free time than me, yet I haven't written a thing. I've logged on to Blogger about six times with the intention of writing, yet have only actually written anything on two of those occasions. Those two occasions have harvested a total of about sixty (promptly aborted) words, even though there's been no lack of worthy topics about which to write. I've had a good idea for a story but it remains in my head and nowhere else. It's like walking to the sink, turning on the tap and having nothing come out. It makes me feel quite useless.

So, here I am, reduced to writing about not being able to write. It's the best I can do right now. All this would be of little worry to me were it not for the fact that writing is my only creative outlet. I no longer play football competitively. I have no children. There's very little scope for creativity at my work. I've never built anything. I contribute very, very little to this world. That isn't to say that my writing contributes anything to anyone other than me, more that, as a human being, there is an imperative to bring things into being, to shape our environment in whatever tiny way we're able. It's one thing that separates us from animals. I'm creating nothing and what that says about me isn't something I like to ponder for too long.

Writing this, however, hasn't been too difficult and it hasn't been unenjoyable, although this is probably due to its cathartic effect rather than simply for the joy of writing. Still, it's been quite nice, like a small weight has been lifted. I think I'll be back.

And how weird is this? I'm just about to hit "publish" when I get a text message. A friend is starting up a football team, do I want to play? Too fucking right, I do! There's a word for this, I'm sure. Is it serendipitous? I think it might be. Whatever it is, I don't care, I'm quite excited.

Man, that's strange.