Yesterday was the longest day or summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and some like to think of it as the start of summer. The weather is not that summery yet but I am working in the garden under the premise that this year is at least a month behind normal and it is still only spring. With summer in the news it is the time to think about a holiday or at least a break from work in the coming months and this triggered some recollections.
When I think back to family holidays during my childhood in the 1960s there was often one person missing, my father, sometimes for a few days but occasionally the whole two weeks. He had his own business and for the rest of the year worked six days a week, 8.30am to 6.00pm with an hour for lunch. The break to the routine at holiday time invariably meant he would be ill, it would normally be just a slight infection but at other times an illness that required full bed rest.
My body seems to work in a similar way and my children show comparable symptoms. I was considering trying to discover if it is hereditary but research from Holland by psychologist Professor Ad Vingerhoets shows it to be a common condition called ‘leisure sickness’. When the mind is full of thoughts, conundrums and problems to be solved (sometimes described as stress) then the body has a greater resistance to disease but when a break from work arrives the resistance is lowered.
I am disappointed at not being able to discover the ‘stopping work gene’ in the family but I am more prepared for what this year’s holiday season may bring and I do find it difficult to switch off. I don’t have a list of ‘to does’ for the holiday period but I do find myself writing notes on the back of tickets, scribbling ideas for composition on homemade manuscript and singing into or recording sounds onto my phone. It may be that a change of environment offers fresh ideas or just having less of a cluttered mind allows for clearer thoughts and I hope a change is as good as a rest during this time. This way of thinking may also be a way of keeping the body’s resistance up and keep the leisure sickness away during the summer break.
Inspiration rarely works to order, I have not found the secret to turn it on or off but I am happy it continues to arrive, even during a rest period. Other parts of the thought process I am beginning to notice are the different types of inspiration that I am noting down. Some is not original thought at all but recycled material from the past, often from over twenty-five years ago and more. I liked it then but now I have changed or developed and some of the ideas sound dated when I listen to them in my mind but they still return. The pile of discarded ideas is growing taller than the ones that will be included in my next few works. This is a distinct change as I would have used the majority of ideas in the past and targeted them at different audiences.
I am looking forward to new ideas from different places in the next few months, just need to remember to not let my resistance drop, keep a pad of paper handy and enjoy the sunshine when it eventually arrives.