idler and idler

sunny idling

Because of some new projects I’m involved with, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and trying to do too much. So many things I wanted to accomplish this weekend, and yet something in me rebelled. It was as if my brain raised a flag of surrender and said, ‘Enough.’

Rather than power through and do a lot of work for the sake of it, I followed my heart. I listened to music and took the dogs for a longer walk than usual. Normally, I’d brew a pot of tea to fuel my next writing session. But instead I brewed the same tea I would have and sat looking out the window while I drank it. Doing nothing.

Not doing very little. Not planning the next thing I’d do. Doing absolutely nothing. At all.


Yet, there was something bothering me at the end of the day. While I normally have something concrete to show for another day of existence, here I was left at a loss. Those projects were still sitting there untouched. Those people waiting on my submissions still on the other end of the telephone line. Or another email asking, ‘How’s the thing coming? You know, the one we’ve already been waiting on for so long.

Uh, I didn’t want to think of that. Not at all.

In the process of doing some research about an old folk singer whose playing a show in Munich, I happened upon a website called The Idler. This isn’t going to help. This might even keep me distracted a while longer.

The  section called About: An Introduction begins:

The Idler is an annual periodical that campaigns against the work ethic and promotes liberty, autonomy and responsibility.’

Ooh, working against the work ethic? This could get interesting. Liberty and autonomy sound good…I tend to shirk responsibility when possible (see above), but I suppose I do get around to being responsible when it matters.

Then the same page says:

‘The title comes from a series of essays by Dr Johnson, published in 1758-9 in the Gentleman’s Magazine.’

Well, I needn’t know too much about the periodical (it’s from the eighteenth century, after all…unlikely that it’s still in print), but you know I had to go look for what Samuel Johnson had to say about Idlers. I did go look, and found something.

'Written professedly for a paper of miscellaneous intelligence, the Idler dwells on the passing incidents of the day, whether serious or light, and abounds with party and political allusion. Johnson ever surveyed mankind with the eye of a philosopher; but his own easier circumstances would now present the world's aspect to him in brighter, fairer colours. Besides, he could, with more propriety and less risk of misapprehension, venture to trifle now, than when first he addressed the public.'

(source: The Project Gutenburg EBook of The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes by Samuel Johnson)

Sounds a bit like how some of us approach blogging. Especially the miscellaneous intelligence part. My intelligence seems particularly filled with miscellany at this point. More so than I’d care to admit.

And I’m doing things a bit backward here. Starting with the brighter, fairer colours and moving toward a bit of propriety. Well, as best I can. My suspicion is that as my writing gets more respectable elsewhere, I’ll continue to use this medium to say things  a bit more thought-provoking and questioning.

I intend to continue with the idling, as well. Just not too much. I have things to accomplish, after all.




    1. Agreed. It’s only when you sit down and watch the world go by that you notice the most interesting and thought-provoking things. Everyone should find at least five minute in their day to sit and do nothing – I think we’d all be a lot healthier for it!

  1. Agreed. We all need some time to do nothing. I’m in favor of this. I’m glad you did nothing for a little while. You deserve it. You’ve been working a lot. You need wondering-time. It’s when you recharge your thinker.

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