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The Art of Timing

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The Art of Timing
MASTER: Walter Jacobs and his harp

I am writing this opening sentence at noon on a Thursday, approximately 24 hours before my deadline.

Normally, that would have me worried.

I like to get these things started with at least two days to spare so I can sleep on the first drafts and then clean them up on Friday mornings before sending them to The Voice.

That’s what I planned to do this week, and things started off quite well.

The sky was cloudy when I got out of bed Wednesday and the forecast was calling for rain.

Those conditions are just what I want for my writing days.

When it is sunny and warm, I find it difficult to stay indoors.

The thing is, the lawn needed to be cut and there were some other jobs in the garden that would be easier to do like tree pruning while the ground was dry, so I decided to get stuck into them early on and then write when the rain arrived.

Of course, it never did, so I spent most of the day taking advantage of the excellent gardening conditions.

Then I drove 150 kilometres to have dinner with my daughter at her university because I haven’t seen her for a while andWednesday was the only day she had a gap in her study schedule.

Then this morning, I decided to put one hour into working out the harmonica riffs I want to play along with a Sting song that my partner’s son is recording with his band.

As it turned out, I work on them for three hours. Oceans Ate Alaska’s take on The Shape of my Heart will feature on a charity album and Chris chose it because he associates the tune with his father who passed away 13 years ago.

He wants to record my efforts this weekend, so getting the riffs down is both urgent and important.

Well, at least for me, and probably for Chris and his mum.

The notes can be played in four different styles on different key harmonicas so I had to work out which harp to use, but the big thing is getting the timing right.

At first, I thought spending so much time on that project was going to ruin the timing for this column, but now I’m almost certain it was the right thing to do… both for the song and thewriting.

I think it is a good idea to maximise our efforts in any area while the going is good, so that’s what I did when my earslatched onto the riffs on the recording.

And then when I finally came to the office, I discovered I had something I wanted to write about.

If I hadn’t tended to the garden while it was dry, seen Maggie while she was free and worked on the riffs while the creative juices were flowing, you would probably be reading another column about football, or social media, or yoga this week.

Okay, I didn’t leave myself much time for the writing, but I think it’s worked out, and by doing things when the timing felt right, I’ve allowed myself to enjoy everything I’ve done.