Column this week
It’s column writing time this week and I haven’t a single idea. No, none at all. I’ve had weeks where I’ve been unsure what I’m going to write about, but normally something happens to change that. All I have to do is check the newspaper online and Prime Minister Manning would usually have provided me with something worthy of my 800 words. Or maybe, inspiration comes in other ways. Maybe it’s something that happens to me on my way to work. Other times, it’s a story a co-worker or a fellow Trini that’s up here has told me that would make the light bulb above the head flash on, hopefully with a bright enough wattage to be significant.
It can be very difficult, you may not know, having to write a column every week. Consider the fact that I have a regular 9 to 6 job. Yes, I know what I said, 9-6. Yes I know that’s more than 8 hours but the 8 hours of work does not include lunch. Yes, I know that’s long. Yes, I know better me than you. Anyway, consider my regular job, my treks to the gym, cooking, commuting and all the other little things that seem like nothing but really take a big, hearty chunk out of one’s time. It’s not easy at all. And after all this I have to try and write a column of interest that will not only satisfy my readers, but most importantly, my editor so that she doesn’t decide I’m a waste of newsprint and tell me to haul my tail.
I’ve been weighing different options. I could write a column about my poor mobile phone that’s has been having death pangs for the last three days and has finally expired, leaving me temporarily mobile-less. For something that less than a generation ago was an unheard of luxury, cell phones have quickly become a necessity. I don’t return home if I forget my umbrella, in a country that’s synonymous with rain, but I will if I forget my phone. Right now I’m feverishly trying to think of who may possibly call me between now and the time it takes me to get a new phone. Terrible, I know.
I could also write about Roodal Moonilal’s statement that Government is preoccupied with developing that country with concrete and glass and was unconcerned about preserving out heritage and recognising our country’s heroes. Hmmm… this comment makes me remember my trip back home in May and the mind-boggling amount of construction that was going on then. It also reminds me of the illness, and subsequent death of The Lord Kitchener and how his family begged for donations of blood to be made. I also remember – and I’m going way back here – the shameful death of Daisy Voisin, who worked so hard and with so much love for her craft but died in poverty. It makes me think of V.S. Naipaul and the furore caused by his Nobel lecture. Seems to me the government is only following the attitude of the people – or maybe it’s the other way around? Anyway, makes you wonder what kind of place Trinidad and Tobago is, where heroes are treated as bad as villains, or even worse. As one of the characters in Naipaul’s earlier work would have said, “Is a helluva thing boy.”
I’ve been thinking I could do another English column this week. Those are usually popular, even if it’s only from irate Englishmen and women – or the odd Trinidadian who lived up here so long they’re more English than the English – emailing me angrily about something I’ve said. Those are popular with other Trinbagonians living abroad as well. But nothing of interest has happened this week. Well, nothing I want to put in the paper, other than the fact that it’s kinda warmish for this time of year and that I had a lovely drive around London on Sunday and that the city looks so much prettier seen from a car than a bus or train.
But I’ve opted for none of these topics. Instead, I’ve chosen to write about not knowing what to write about. I think this was a clever idea. Well, if not clever then at least cute. I promise a amazingly fabulous one next week and I hope this passes by you (and my editor!). Have a great week Trinidad and Tobago. See you in seven days.