The trick to writing a witty, entertaining and, most importantly, regular column is to have at your disposal great intellect, eloquence, charm and a bucketful of material. Alternatively you can copy, or as a more eloquent columnist would have said, plagiarise the lot!
I have neither the skill set of the former nor the sharp ability to do the latter, so the process for me varies between one of instant gratification where the words spring forth, or I endure an excruciating process of trial and error.
As with many acts in life you somehow know when it’s the right moment to do those things, writing an article is no exception. Then again there are those times when you have no choice, your time or in this case the deadline just ran out.
So what is it like writing a column and where does such an act occur? Am I sat at an antique desk with an inlaid leather top, is my pen a family heirloom and thus a preferred writing instrument, through which inspiration has often flowed over the years? Have I a decent single malt at hand and a well behaved and reliable old dog lying next to me, watching as I smile my way through yet another concise and insightful piece?
The reality of this article is that I am trapped in seat 14E on SAA369, Johannesburg to Cape Town, wedged so to speak between two people. One of them has a bad allergy to deodorant and the other thinks the arm rest and leg room were part of his booking. It is at least 40° and we are delayed as SAA has managed to pack more bags than passengers.
But wait! The heat, human contact and the prospect of exquisite food, no doubt heating in the metal tray as we speak, are all conspiring to inspire me. A light goes on, a small thought is born, what did we do before we had Blackberry’s or, as they are referred to in my home, Raspberry’s? I can currently see, from my third class seat, nine people and all are “Raspberrying” except me. I am the odd one out and simply because I can’t write and Raspberry at the same time, it’s a male thing!
My theory is that these little devices have become, along with laptops, a human defence mechanism. Their use keeps a person within “their” space and stops unwanted introductions and conversations. Keep on typing and looking at nothing but cyber junk and you will appear very busy or at least too busy to be interrupted.
If I am correct then that one point alone justifies the existence for these revoltingly intrusive objects. Weird though, is it not, that you will reply to scores of really pointless self serving SMS and email messages rather than engage face to face with another human being? Many people now communicate with their life partner more via their phone, Raspberry or laptop than they do in the evening at home, even if sat with a single malt and a laid back dog at their feet.
There is also a distinct issue with the youth and I mean apart from the fact that they know how to work these devices and or services like no one else. If you have a female aged between 11 and 19 in your home you will know and agree that they tweet, twitter, flick and flicker their whole waking hours.
Our sheenager lives on line and the phone, just what will she do one day when she has to engage in a face to face chat with a boy? Knowing her, twitter her head off and flick the hair, some things never change.
Anyway I must go, I can see my choice of fish or beef gliding its way down the aisle and I am not missing that, even SAA food will smell better than my “seat partner”! Oh dear, I think they both just simultaneously read that, now this could be really inspirational.