People Watching

People watching used to be a favourite hobby of mine. Sitting at a café, observing without judging.

Then technology came along. And I don’t observe people so much anymore.

I mean, you can’t observe both the screen and the people around you, can you?

A real pity, really.

Technology has filled all those little spaces that “just being” used to fill. The spaces between the things that needed to be done and the places that needed to be visited.

And unfortunately the spaces where ideas used to roam free and germinate.

Trashing the first draft

He looked at my screen, saw the first draft of an e-mail I’d been penning, and shook his head.

It wasn’t pretty. It didn’t read well. The message that should have been communicated within the first line was placed below another eight lines of filler. And to think I’d been working on this for the last fifteen minutes.

“My god,” his expression told me, “that’s a bad piece of e-mail.”

I sighed.

“It’s only the first draft,” I told him. I knew it was bad, as my first drafts almost always are, almost on purpose. You don’t look at a skeleton and think now there’s a good-looking guy/girl, do you?

I know what I’m doing, was my implied message.

As it turned out, the first draft was soon discarded — it’d served its purpose — and the polished second (and final) one crafted. In less than five minutes, I might add.

The first draft is, for me, always a piece of sh*t. It’s not meant to be read. It’s meant to get the ideas floating in my head down in one place, where I can physically see and play around with them.

See my final draft and make a judgement if you want. But until then, just let me work my magic — the magic of iteration.

Stars

Sitting on the swing, relaxing after a heavy dinner,
Looking at stars I used to know more intimately,
I reminisced about times that seemed so recent but
Were (five, six, seven… no) fourteen years ago —
Half a lifetime away.

I used to watch the stars as they crawled across
The sky on restless nights before I slept, and awaken
To find their journey  only halfway through. I’d nudge them
With my finger for a bit, pushing them on, before
Getting ready for school.

I remember imagining that I was on one of those
Stars, looking into the sky and spotting Earth.
It was my way of meeting peace — from this perspective
Pain didn’t hurt. A knife through the heart would’ve made
A dent as deep as a whisper.