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Pause for Thought

05 Jun

 It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good pint must be susceptible to interesting thoughts.

As I sat in the pub quaffing a pint of Abbot Ale the other day, I realised that this blog would have been less substantial and probably less inventive, if not more coherent without the intake of the ‘smooth, dark stuff’.

Photo0147Traversing yet another journey of the imagination and learning (in this case reading The Wine of Solitude by Irene Nemirovsky), I stumbled upon a break in parts.  It happens to me regularly of course but this time I was struck by something new.  Perhaps it was the pint, or perhaps something more tangible yet out of reach of the right words but something made me stop and stare into the above pages.

There was a quality to these leafs,  they felt smooth yet had those wrinkles that seem to be caught in the very fabric of its being.  I like blank pages, I used to just see them as a waste of paper but I was wrong in this assumption and now see them as part of the experience of reading, the canvas of thought.

The blank pages are natural pauses, at the beginning they are anticipatious and at the end of the book they are reflective, but these middle ones, they are something much more fascinating and versatile.  The slight dwelling that the pauses offers, allows not only for the world or idea that you are reading about to be clarified or mused upon but lets flight of fancy take wing.

An infinity of thoughts can take place between these two pages, as they did for me whilst I sat writing this…I think that is what makes a book, especially for a reviewer such as myself.  I am able to sum up thoughts, compartmentalise different ideas and generally analyse things differently than I would with books that don’t use the break.

Perhaps it wasn’t the blank pages at all but the pint that taught me these things, which would logically mean that I should go to the pub whenever a new idea hits me, sadly my insides and bank balance tell me that that would be folly so I shall just stick to my tried and trusted method of poking my gray matter with a stick and seeing what happens.

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39 Comments

Posted by on 05/06/2014 in Blogging, Eccentricities, My Writings

 

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39 responses to “Pause for Thought

  1. Morgan

    05/06/2014 at 16:41

    I have never used actual Breaks in my writing, but after reading your surprising lucid musings (in spite of or perhaps thanks to the fine ale!). I tend to use a break method that is somewhat less Intrusive, (a string of *************************** that indicate a break in the timeline) although perhaps less effective. Now you’ve given me Pause for Thougth(s) 😉

    Great post! Now have a nice frosty beverage for me (tho not ale!) 😀

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    • Ste J

      05/06/2014 at 16:47

      I shall have a glass of brand name cola, thank you! The classic stars work well for books and blogs, sometimes I think a little extra emphasis is good if there is something seismic or subtle that you really want to give the reader a chance to ‘get’. Perhaps it is just a nice break as the action moves somewhere else…it’s almost like the empty pages are a blank canvas for the readers thoughts.

      I was only a quarter of a way through my first and only pint so I was as lucid as my brain usually allows me to be, which is does in fits and starts at the best of times.

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      • Morgan

        05/06/2014 at 18:35

        Bonny Ale notwithstanding, Lucidity is over rated 🙂

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  2. shadowoperator

    05/06/2014 at 16:53

    Indeed, there is something about the “smooth dark stuff” (in my case Murphy’s Stout) which simultaneously elevates one’s thoughts and makes one incapable of marshalling them conveniently to write them down. Therefore, I’m imagining that your words are a case of Wordsworth’s “emotion recollected in tranquility,” Whatever the case, I enjoyed your post (keep drinking, and keep writing).

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    • Ste J

      05/06/2014 at 17:00

      Well if you demand I both drink and write then it would be rude to go against your wishes. That Wordsworth had some good words…he pottered around the Lake District and I have a book (with fold out maps) on the geology of said place…maybe I should look up at clouds more often although that seems less original now…I wandered lonely to the bar…just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

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      • shadowoperator

        05/06/2014 at 17:23

        Sure it does! “I wandered lonely to the bar, And sang the songs of vales and hills; Until at last there came my mates, And stood me endless pint refills….” Sorry, I was born a parodist, and have treated many a great poet with even less respect!

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        • Ste J

          05/06/2014 at 18:05

          I like it! Although the endless refills from my mates is a bit of a stretch lol.

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  3. shadowoperator

    05/06/2014 at 18:18

    Well, you could point out to them that Wordsworth’s mate (Coleridge) came well-supplied with laudanum (though of course there’s not proof but W’s ceaseless maundering over features of the landscape that he ever partook). Maybe they would be persuaded to regard it as you letting them off cheaply in return for your poetic artistry and song that you only demand pints and not opium derivatives….

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    • Ste J

      05/06/2014 at 18:22

      Now you’re talking! I will leave the Opium derivatives for a while, at least until I read de Quincey’s Confessions of an Opium eater, that may inspire me in such a directions. I like Coleridge, he always came across as a bit mental. I will get my very best bawdy limericks ready for the pub, that will pay for my pints of mead, I’m sure.

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  4. Sherri

    05/06/2014 at 18:29

    I know just what you mean…and I would never have thought to have described it in this way…but a break like this, with blank pages, really does give time to pause and reflect. That’s why I love the feel of an actual book. I don’t have a Kindle and I just don’t know if I can handle reading a book the ‘new’ way. Does it work? Can you still have these pauses and ‘flights of fancy’ I wonder? I’m glad you won’t be going to the pub with every thought but it sound like an ideal setting to me. Although I would have probably ended up spilling my pint (or G&T) on those pristine pages… 😉

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    • Ste J

      05/06/2014 at 18:39

      I haven’t really done much with an e-reader, one of my friends showed me one that he uses and I can see why they are popular but I am a traditionalist and I like people to see what I am reading. You never know who will strike up conversations with you…although usually it is the local eccentric. I would get the feeling that I was just staring at a blank computer screen if they put the pauses in on those devices…sometimes it is the texture of the pages that holds the interest as much as the blankness. I make sure my pint is kept away as much as possible from any books I have, so far I have been 100% successful which is probably me tempting fate a little too much.

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  5. Morgan

    05/06/2014 at 18:55

    Reblogged this on booknvolume and commented:
    I read this and liked it. Then I read it again and REALLY liked it and thought YOU might too 🙂

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    • Ste J

      05/06/2014 at 19:02

      It is rare I get a reblog so thank you very much for this my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Morgan

        05/06/2014 at 19:22

        That is a travesty, plain and simple. 😉

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  6. thejerseygal®™

    05/06/2014 at 20:53

    Yay! You’re realizing that drinking and the creative and imaginative processes can marry and bring new life to the brain. Of course, in moderation!
    Never have I come across a book with pages of nothing that act as a pause… To gather thoughts and anticipation. Clever.

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    • Ste J

      06/06/2014 at 18:16

      It’s strange that I have come across so many books that do have the breaks but I had never really considered them in that way…I guess it was the paper quality that swung it for me.

      I have written a few blog posts drunk but they were incoherent…maybe next time that happens I will just post it when sober so everybody can have a good laugh and interpret them as they wish. As if I need an excuse to drink!

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      • thejerseygal®™

        07/06/2014 at 23:54

        Drunk is one thing, bit buzzed is another… Buzzed is lighter and not quite drunk. That’s when some good stuff might come. But I would enjoy reading your drunkenness!

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        • Ste J

          08/06/2014 at 18:18

          It may need to be vetted for spelling mistakes and such, I am a sucker for that. I think I will stick to being mostly in control of myself for the moment as I am a boring old soul at heart.

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  7. georgeforfun

    05/06/2014 at 21:04

    Reblogged this on georgeforfun.

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  8. Lyn

    05/06/2014 at 23:45

    Ste J, if you hadn’t posted a photo of the blank pages, I’d have thought you’d had slightly more than a pint 😉 But, I agree, blank pages are good (except when you’re trying to write) and they can be used to good effect not just by the writer, but the reader. They come in handy if you suddenly get a brainwave for a new story from something you’ve just read. They also come in handy for shopping lists. I love a drop of the amber stuff after I’ve been working in the garden on a hot summer’s day. Especially if it’s Toohey’s Extra Dry or Crown Premium Larger. I’ve never tried a dark ale though…one sip would probably have me under the table.

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    • Ste J

      06/06/2014 at 18:37

      There are some strong percentage ales and ciders out there…if I am in a pub, I have to try one out just to see what it tastes like…with their inventive names and interesting colours…I haven’t come across your tipples but I will keep my eye out for them. You would deface a book with ideas and shopping lists?! That is sacrilege of the highest order…always carry a notebook that’s what I do. It would have been ironic had I used the blank pages to write my blog notes but now it feels somewhat like a missed opportunity…

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      • Lyn

        07/06/2014 at 11:41

        LOL Ste J, I was joking about the shopping list 😀
        I usually use a paper napkin if I’ve left my list at home. The blank pages are safe.

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        • Ste J

          08/06/2014 at 18:10

          I shall let you off, I do get overly emotional about ‘book bullying’.

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  9. nancyrae4

    06/06/2014 at 01:12

    Love your interpretation of breaks. For a long time, I hesitated using them in my fiction writing, but now that I’ve gathered my courage I’ve found them quite handy. They increase reader anticipation and, for the writer, they offer a great option of skipping over the most terrible scene you’ve ever written and moving on to the next day, the next year, or the next galaxy. Have a lovely drink for me. Must go write.

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    • Ste J

      06/06/2014 at 18:32

      Perhaps that what all blank pages are…gaps where scenes would go. I think we should mount a mission to find the Graveyard of Scenes, which is probably next to the Elephant’s Graveyard and we can enjoy all those easy to understand James Joyce chapters he discarded in favour of the challenging one’s he published.

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  10. writersideup

    06/06/2014 at 05:16

    OK, Ste J, are you sure that ale wasn’t spiked? This sounds a bit “trippy” 😉 Honestly, I never would’ve stopped long enough on blank pages to consider them anything more than…well…blank! I will never look at a blank page in a book the same way again, thanks to you! I need time to reflect on that, actually 😉

    Seriously, though (maybe), if I were to compare it to an intermission at a movie theater during a long movie (do they even HAVE intermissions anymore?), instead of breaking to the ladies room and having a conversation about how long the wait is or how 3 out of 5 toilets are clogged with tissue, I would instead spend that time on the bowl reflecting on the first half of the movie? Hmmm…

    And, btw, I agree with Shadowoperator in that your line does work, BUT it needs to be “I wandered lonely to the Rose and Crown…” 😉

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    • Ste J

      06/06/2014 at 18:25

      I think their could be a pub limerick competition coming up, although it could be very competitive though…

      Books never fail to surprise me, I had been skipping over these blank sections in books for years only subconsciously noting their use…then a pint comes along and gets me writing about it…they never put that on the drink responsibly adverts ‘drinks increases imagination and writing whimsy capacity’ or something less shorter and way catchier.

      I think intermissions are exclusively left for the arty movies these days but it must have been great to have a think during he break in one of the big epics…there would be an outcry if they would have done that in Lord of the Rings though!

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      • writersideup

        06/06/2014 at 21:26

        Yeah, taking a break during LOTR wouldn’t have sat well with me, either! lol But I do remember them from when I was a kid. It’s basically a bladder-reliever 😉

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  11. Alastair Savage

    06/06/2014 at 08:25

    There is something wonderful about the feel of paper. Having dropped a comment on my blog this week, you also know The Name of the Rose. In the prologue to the book, where Eco pretends to have discovered the story through a Medieval manuscript, he has a wonderful description of working the old-school way: “I completed a translation, using some of those large notebooks from the Papeterie Joseph Gilbert in which it is so pleasant to write if you use a felt-tip pen”. I can’t imagine anyone describing their keyboard like that.

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    • Ste J

      06/06/2014 at 18:28

      I readn that intro again last year sometime, not the rest of the book, just that..Eco makes paper sexy. All the research these days, I would be amazed were somebody to write an evocative piece about copy and pasting stuff off of Wikipedia. I think that is why e-readers will never sway me to the dark side.

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    • writersideup

      06/06/2014 at 21:27

      Alastair, I’m SO with you on that. I spend a lot of time on my computer and with my keyboard and do LOTS of reading on here, but it will never be fiction. That’s a different animal. I want a cover, binding, paper, ink! 😀

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  12. Seyi sandra

    06/06/2014 at 23:53

    I don’t think the pint had anything to do with your moments of inspiration. I think blank pages in books are necessary. Pauses in a plot should be encouraged by authors and publishers. I’ll use more of that in my subsequent books. Have a nice weekend my friend!

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    • Ste J

      08/06/2014 at 18:15

      The odd pint possibly just give me a little nudge but overall I think it is the chaos in my head which sometimes throws out a coherent idea or two. I feel I am going to be responsible for a lot more trees being cut down now hehe.

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  13. LuAnn

    07/06/2014 at 12:59

    You have made me look at the world of books in an entirely different manner Ste J. Thank you! 🙂

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    • Ste J

      08/06/2014 at 18:10

      It is amazing the little things that we don’t ‘see’ and then all of a sudden they are there plain as day. I do wonder how many more blatantly obvious things that we are missing…the fun is in the finding out!

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      • LuAnn

        08/06/2014 at 19:03

        You are expert at this! 😀

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  14. anna amundsen

    07/06/2014 at 20:08

    I’ve stared countless times at the blank pages between chapters. They really are great resting points, allowing thinking, remembering, making connections, imagining..
    I loved this post. Is it me or you are getting better at writing these kind of texts?

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    • Ste J

      08/06/2014 at 18:17

      I hope I am getting better, or at least improving a little each time…it is great that a book offers you a sanctuary for thought within the experience but keeps your mind in its grasp instead of sending you away to dwell on it or be distracted.

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