by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.
What, I ask you, surpasses the elation and simple pleasure of a relaxed and broadening Saturday afternoon? Perhaps one luxuriates in the soporific varnish of a pleasant luncheon, numbed by a glass of wine. What bliss it is to relish that magical feeling, nowhere to go, nothing to do. Granted there are occasions when a Saturday afternoon is spoiled by routine commitment and pesky chores. But by and large one can count on Saturday afternoon to be free from obligation, a time for slacking. It is the pinnacle of the much longed for weekend. And what better time to lose oneself in what makes you tick. For my part it’s writing. Ever since I was a boy I have restored myself by writing. This purely innocent entertainment, in sync with a lackadaisical Saturday afternoon and with about as much purpose, is free of any constraint whatsoever. It is as innocuous as revelling in the sunrise and I harvest its rewards with the same organic gratitude.
Because a Saturday afternoon proffers unique freedom from hindrance it consequently strengthens dalliance in the most obscure reflections. It affords the privilege to delve liberally in matters of conscience, introspections too vague to ponder amidst the usual hubbub of life. It is occasion to take account, to summarize one’s private domain, to stop the machinery of personal production long enough to gauge what direction you’re headed. And even if after rambling meditations the conclusion is that it doesn’t matter a damn, the exercise is nonetheless fulfilling, an emotional release.
Beyond the psychological catharsis is the tangible act of capturing events on paper, arresting a moment of personal history. Yet like so many other forms of expression, writing for me is all about the act of writing not the result of it. Certainly I care about what I write but seldom do I revisit and re-read the entries. Even my childhood compositions, as self-conscious and sometimes preposterous as they were, are upon reconsideration only remotely amusing. It is odd however that after so many years it appears that I am still the same person. In spite of the obvious and expected changes wrought by maturity, when it comes to writing, the essential nature of what I seek to communicate has never changed; writing continues to be a perpetual struggle to touch the heart of my being and frankly I rather doubt I’ll ever be more close to it than I am now or ever was. Perhaps the real autobiography of life is what we so freely say about others not what we strive to say about ourselves.
An unencumbered Saturday afternoon invites more than one indifferent glance out the window upon the back yard or across the sky, an empty stare into space. There is no pressing need to discern or calculate anything particular in what one sees. Casual thoughts percolate with detachment. A glimmer of insight occasionally shines but as quickly dissipates. This is not a time for weighty rumination but rather fleeting dreams. I marvel at how infrequently we stop to celebrate what we have in spite of all the work we expend in getting there. Merely arresting our constant preoccupation with acquisition and improvement subdues and pacifies the spirit if only temporarily. It would be foolish to conceive we will abandon for long our deep-seated yearnings but we nonetheless need refreshment.
The minutes and hours of Saturday afternoon imperceptibly slip away and the day at last yawns towards early evening. Once again we marshall our energies in anticipation of what is to follow. Our industry and obsessions cannot be longer ignored. Soon it will be time to close the book on another chapter of Saturday afternoon prose.