The current trumps the conditional

I recently learned about the second and third conditional in the English language. It's about the imaginary, the hypothetical. If I won the lottery, I would buy a mansion. Well actually I would probably buy an expensive coffee machine and some new shoes, but you get the idea.

Sometimes it's fun to put yourself in the imaginary. Sometimes it's necessary. Having recently undertaken some impact training, I discovered a great prep trick for entering a room of strangers or any other daunting social scenario: imagine yourself doing something that evokes the emotional state you want to project. It can be from memory or it can be made up. But be sure to immerse your mind and your body in that conditional for a moment. Then, and this is the crucial part, leave the imaginary at the door and focus all your attention on those around you in the now.

Because as much fun as the conditional can be (or could be), it's in the current where the real fun begins, where interactions happen and the material for your imaginary comes from.

Going on holiday, detaching from everything and missing a weekly blog post is when you get to see wild flowers and medieval jamming sessions. Attending mini music festivals, spending time with new people and discovering new music is how you get to be too tired to write what's on your mind. Better to be and do than think but if I do, what if.

Don't get me wrong

I love writing. When I say writing I mean the whole process from the germination of a thought, through it's gradual mental fermentation and on past the research phase through to linguistic construction. I even have a new pen that declares how much I love writing: you can't ask for more ridiculous proof than that. But what I love the most is having something to write about.

So while I have missed scribbling and typing in this particular notebook, I shall not sit here thinking in the third conditional that if I had stayed in and got an early night, I would be a little more compos mentis for finally getting something down today. Instead, I shall tip tap away the best I can, safe in the knowledge that it is only because I ignored the ifs and woulds that I have even this much to think and say.

The conditional and the construction of thoughts, ideas and the imaginary all come from what we do and what we did. I do not mean direct reportage. I mean the food that feeds the way we see the world. The occurrences that change the way we tell the story of what we see. The conditional is smoke and mirrors. The current is right in front of you. And the latter will only trip you up if you let the former trick you into missing the fact it's there.