The Toolbox Fallacy

Some days, truth kind of slaps you in the face.

I was on Youtube, trying to relax and destress a little. I watch quite a wide mix of things – so much so that Youtube probably thinks I’m some kind of weaponized experiment in confusing their algorithm.

However, one thing that I do watch quite often are videos about writing. I watch videos about how to construct a good narrative, write better villains, the hero’s journey, plot structure, and other elements of writing.

And yet, I never actually write anything.

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Growing up

I haven’t posted here for eight weeks.

I’m sorry. I had been meaning to post every single week, and to keep writing. But I have failed on that. I haven’t written here, and I haven’t written any fiction in a while.

Although in my defence, I have been rather busy…

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I have always rather liked Greek mythology

I started reading it when I was around ten years old. I used to read everything I could, and my parents eventually began to run out of books.

They didn’t have a huge amount of money, and so I mostly read hand-me-down books, or books for adults. The book of Greek mythology was the last book they bought me that was aimed more at children than at adults.

I read it many times. Over and over again, until I knew all of the myths backwards and forwards. When we eventually went on a family trip to Rome – our only foreign holiday ever – I was talking to the tour guide about the statues, answering his questions, and occasionally correcting him.

But the myth that most caught my imagination wasn’t the Twelve Tasks of Hercules, or the Trojan War, or the Odyssey, or Arachne, or Orpheus and Eurydice, or Apollo and Daphne, or Narcissus and Echo.

The myth that I found most powerful was Sisyphus.

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The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

– Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I have been thinking a lot about feelings this week.

I don’t tell many people about my autism diagnosis, so I remember how most people reacted. Mostly, people have reacted in one of two or three ways, but one person I told was… different.

She replied that I couldn’t possibly have autism, “because you have too many emotions”. And I will be honest – I hadn’t expected that. It was probably the most surprising response I’ve ever had.

And, at least for the moment, no-one else had reacted the same way.

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I didn’t post last week.

It’s the first time I’ve missed out a post since I started in May. I’ve been a little inconsistent on the timings a couple of times, but I haven’t actually skipped an entire week before.

On the face of it, that is a failure. When I began writing this blog, I swore that I was going to try harder. I had tried twice before and I had failed, and I wanted very much not to fail again. I told myself that I would write every week – and last week, I failed to stick to that.

However, it is also an achievement. It means that I managed to post something for ten weeks in a row. I didn’t always manage it on the day I intended, but I did manage. It’s a small victory, but it is a victory.

I’m trying to focus on positive things.

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I knew a girl who could juggle once.

Actually, when I stop and think about it, I have met a few people who could juggle. But she was the first person I knew who could. I was fascinated by it. It’s always struck me as a thoroughly useless skill to have, and yet it has been one that I wanted to have.

I have owned no fewer than three sets of juggling balls in my life. That doesn’t count the times – far too many to count – that I would try and juggle with the balls in the ball-pit, while my class was busy playing.

But I never could pick it up.

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It’s been a funny old week.

I feel as if something has changed inside me. I’m not really sure what has changed, but I feel as if something is different. I’ve long been worried about wasting my potential and letting my life slip by, but I haven’t seemed to muster the motivation to actually do anything about it.

Hopefully, that is now in the past.

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I wasn’t sure what to write about today.

At first, I considered writing something about minimalism. That didn’t seem very original though. It seems as if everybody is a minimalist nowadays. There are endless blogs about it, plenty of newspapers articles about it, many books on Amazon, and Marie Kondo’s television programme, all telling us how nice it is to live with less.

Certainly, there are plenty of people already talking about it. So after some thought, I decided not to talk about minimalism. Even though I have spent most of the week getting rid of things, it just didn’t seem right.

Then, I thought of writing about depression and mental health. Once again, that seemed trite, and boring. I have written on it enough of late, and as I finally feel as if I am entering a happier path, it didn’t seem appropriate.

I thought of writing about some aspect of the news that had caught my eye this week, or about productivity, or travel. But even that seemed unoriginal.

The problem is that everything seems to have been done by others – everything has been written about before. And so, I sat and I wracked my brains, and struggled to think of what to put.

This is something that I have struggled with a great deal. As a writer, I feel constantly plagued by self-doubt because of it. Every idea has been done before – and probably done at least once before that by Shakespeare, and done better to boot.

There is nothing original at all.

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I’m still getting better from that damned cold.

Put another way – I’m still feeling ill, being self-indulgent and avoiding the work that I should be doing. Which isn’t very responsible, but is kind of nice.

I have at least stopped watching television shows, and started reading news articles and other useful stuff online. That’s an improvement, at least. And it also ended up giving me an idea for this week’s post.

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