Wednesday, January 21, 2004


I’m thinking of running away and joining the circus – how d’you think I’d look in tight trousers and a sequinned jacket? (Don’t answer that…) I’ve been polishing up an old skill, you see – plate spinning.

You know the routine; the artiste takes a long, whippy rod and a plate with a lip to it. Sets the plate spinning on the top of the rod, gives it few deft flicks with the wrist to get the speed up, then places the other end of the rod in a stand, leaving the plate spinning on top. Then he takes another rod and plate and does the same… and another… and another… now maybe he needs to go back to the first to give it a boost… He carries on like this until maybe a dozen plates are spinning atop their forest of rods.

Now the fun really starts. Eyes darting from plate to plate, looking out for that tell-tale wobble that one is about to drop. Dashing from rod to rod keeping them all moving, to cheers from the audience, acknowledging his great prowess.

It feels good at first. Exciting new activities, rushing from task to task, keeping things going, busy-busy-busy. In control, needed; useful even.

Beware; it’s a trap. Some of those plates are more important than others, but once they’re all spinning you daren’t leave any. The only way you’ll reduce the numbers is to let some come crashing down, so once they’re going they have to stay going. Unless you want a crash that is. So you keep just enough input on each to keep them ticking over.

And there’s another catch. To start with, there was a good reason why each of those plates was set spinning, a purpose to be achieved, but after a while the purpose becomes simply to keep them spinning; the original aim forgotten, activity becomes an endless cycle without meaning. What was once driven by vision becomes driven by routine.

What’s more, to keep them all spinning needs attention everywhere- and nowhere, for to track all of them denies attention to any of them.

Okay, I think I caught it in time. I was suffering the early symptoms of CPSD – Compulsive Plate Spinning Disorder. Thankfully it hadn’t got too bad. But I could see the symptoms – rushing from blog to blog, skimming many reading none – and no time to leave a worthwhile comment; juggling activities in so many spheres without proper attention to any – just a prop here and a patch there; worst of all, not listening because there’s always something else that needs doing.

So today I spent a very relaxing lunch time deliberately just reading blogs, including several new ones, and posting a few comments. Here’s three gems:

I should have welcomed ntexas99 at Brain Crayons a while back, who has taken the plunge from commenting to blogging – some lovely stories and I rather suspect many more to come.

This post from Trey at Only Connect really got me thinking about how I unconsciously assess people according to quite irrelevant criteria. I’m not going to tell you what my Beer on Deck question is; I might upset someone, but having discovered it, I’m at least going to try and avoid applying it. And if you want to have the faintest idea what I’m talking about, you’ll just have to follow the link.

Finally, I was utterly gobsmacked by this one from The Happy Tutor. That guy Thinks.

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