The things you want to do and the things you think you should be doing . . . I’m English, my mother was a Methodist, and there’s this Puritan strain I subscribed to for a very long time: that pleasure is something to be earned, that work comes before play. But it doesn’t work like that: you do the work, and then there’s more work, and the pleasure gets deferred, squeezed out.
I’m getting better at this, a lot better, but this week I had a relapse: as well as sitting for two days ten-to-five in a very dull office (something I seem to have to signed up to), and paying some bills, and blah, I’ve typeset (and done a rough copy-edit on) four books (with footnotes, running heads, the works) that are not CBe books, and still, past midnight on Friday, I haven’t got round to the things I want to do. And now of course I’m too tired to do those things, so instead I go looking for a particular Hugo Williams poem.
I’ve found it. It’s called ‘Everyone Knows This’. He has at least two poems with that title, but this is the one I was looking for: ‘You get to your feet, having accumulated / one nice and one nasty thing to do / and do the nice thing first.’ Yes.