Writer’s Block

A couple of weeks ago I decided to step back from the commitment of long-form blogs. Writing them occupied a lot of my time and it was always a challenge to find something worthy of writing a piece about.

So, I decided I’d try my hand at writing a short blog every single day – shooting from the hip, quick and dirty, publishing with a devil-may-care attitude. Well… ‘Tom Mountford Daily’ lasted for seven editions before I inevitably missed a couple of days, and because none of you knew about it, no one had looked at the blogs anyway. So, the old faithful – Wine & Crisps – is getting my full attention again, and by way of mashing together a long and in-depth piece I’ve compiled the best of my week of heady action-packed writing.

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May 19th 2014

Another regular Monday morning. I travelled on a train that had been cancelled due to overrunning engineering work, but was then replaced by an identical train that departed at the same time as the one it was replacing. Having left home early because of dire warnings of travel chaos in the region I had boarded an earlier train, and have managed to arrive at work ahead of schedule. Perhaps today won’t be so bad after all. No, wait, I’ve just remembered all of the stuff I left uncompleted on Friday. Revise that prediction, it’s going to be an entirely normal Monday.

I had a weird dream in the night. I had been in a fancy Chinese restaurant, a location no doubt influenced by the takeaway we had last night. For some reason the staff were rude and inattentive and the tables seemed just too small for us all to sit at, we tried several for size. I cannot remember who ‘we’ all were – but there was probably about five of us. I kicked up a fuss but the staff ignored me, for some reason I then threw a chair across the restaurant and stormed out. I was somewhat miffed that my display of crazy had not attracted more attention so I burst back into the restaurant again and told them I’d write something nasty about them on TripAdvisor – clearly that was in there because I’d read a funny one on The Poke yesterday afternoon – I yelled that they were finished, they would never work in the restaurant business again, that the police were probably on their way. I recall using the phrase “I’m going to cook you a media shit-storm!” I think I may have been overplaying my hand with that last bit because they told me to fuck off. I left of my own accord. Have you ever experienced the pleasure of having a massive argument in a dream and woken up feeling victorious?

May 20th 2014

Humph. Some days my hobbies fill me with joy, whilst on other days they are a source of frustration – even if that’s misplaced. I had my last Russian lesson on Tuesday, the last for the foreseeable future anyway. My tutor is working abroad until the Autumn, so until then I’m fending for myself. The motivation to ‘go out on a high’ was clearly getting the adrenaline flowing as I was, frankly, absolutely on fire. My mind has never been so focused in a lesson, I was actually crafting fluent sentences with the minimum of thought and even snapping my thumbs to be fed extra new words so I didn’t have to look down at my worksheets to break the flow.

Today though I have had other distractions, a long board meeting for starters, which has left my brain frazzled. I just looked at the Russian text on an Instagram photo and, even though every word is in my still extremely limited vocabulary, I drew a complete blank and had no fucking idea what any of it meant. Google Translate, a horrible crutch that both supports and hinders me, had to come to my rescue and remind me of the words. I feel as though I have forgotten everything.

I’m determined, so very determined, that Russian isn’t going to get chucked onto the enormous scrapheap of hobbies that have held my fleeting attention for a short while. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m not going to say ‘bollocks to it’ just because my mind went blank for a few moments. I’m better than that, goddammit! I won’t bloody give up!

It’s been a long day.

May 22nd 2014

I am on the train home from work and I’m clutching a miniature bottle of white wine. I must add that I’m not actually drinking the wine. I bought it to go with dinner. My tiny purchase means that I can drink just a single glass with dinner yet avoid having to pour half a bottle down the sink in a couple of days time. I can’t stand wasting wine. So, there you go – I haven’t resorted to binge-drinking during my commute; downing a bottle of Pinot on the train before I burst through my front door, tossing a trench-coat toward the hatstand as I announce in a slurred American accent, “Honey, I’m home! … No! I’m not drunk again!” before losing my footing and comically crumpling to the floor, bringing the hatstand and some umbrellas with me.

I’m currently messaging on Skype with a lady who has offered to help me with my Russian. She tells me she’s both a masseuse and ‘a life coach… for men with midlife crises’. On reading that I allowed for cultural and language differences, but my suspicions were naturally somewhat aroused. Well, certainly not ‘aroused’, but you get my gist. She’s not asked what I am wearing, thus far.

So – I am a man on a train clutching a miniature bottle of white wine whilst chatting to a masseuse in a foreign country. For the record, I am wearing purple underwear.

May 22nd 2014

I was up bright and early this morning, but I catch the 7.44am train to work – so I’m up bright and early every day. However, when I slide out of bed at 6.45am I am a zombie – a shell of a man propped-up in the kitchen snowballing Pro Plus and jugs of black coffee, Rice Krispies dripping out of the side of my mouth, milk trickling down my ripped torso. Sorry, I’m going off at a tangent. Anyway, I’m a night-owl for certain. I get a second-wind as evening draws on so you’ll often find me still watching TV or reading a book at midnight. Mornings? Paaaahh, not so good.

I was up and out the door this morning to visit the dentist. Genes have been relatively kind to me and I’ve not had to endure many unpleasant dental procedures in my life. The last time I had any major pain was before I had braces, I was likely about fourteen years old. I had overcrowded teeth so my canines were pushed forward, giving me a slightly Dracula-like smile. In order for the braces to correct this I needed to have four teeth extracted. My dentist at the time (who was already a pensioner) gave me a local anaesthetic and reached for a pair of pliers – proper Victorian dentistry! Given that there was nothing medically wrong with the teeth they really didn’t want to budge. The poor old chap struggled, a lot, and for a week after the procedure I had a swollen face and was in terrible pain. Long and the short of it is that my teeth were corrected and pleasingly aligned, and they’ve caused few problems since.

This morning I paid to have a clean and scale. I have a nice young dentist named Ian, and he’s always happy to do cosmetic work. As I have a penchant for a continual drip-feed of tea, coffee and red wine I’m really every dental hygienist’s worst nightmare, or ideal patient depending on how you look at it. Having put up with quarter of an hour of awkward jabbing pain and the sound of fingernails being dragged down a chalkboard I can once again feel the gaps between my teeth – the perfect Hollywood smile has been restored, for a while.

I’ve just realised that I’ve managed to write an entire piece about a visit to the dentist. I amaze myself sometimes.

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