Imagine you are a miner, deep underground. The air is heavy and the light dim. The miner has few tools – a pick, a shovel, a flickering lamp, and if he is lucky, a canary in a cage.
This miner doesn’t actually know what he’s after. He knows there is a valuable vein in that hole which might be gold, or it might have diamonds; then again, it might be fool’s gold.
And the canary, well, she’s a lifesaver. She sings and tweets and flaps her wings as long as that miner is at work.
But look! He’s thrown away his tools and is looking at his emails, or doing the ironing, or menu-planning or heaven forfend, shopping.
The canary has fallen off her swing and is lying motionless on the bottom of her cage.
That’s me – the chap in the filthy clothes who has chucked aside his kit and is busy doing anything, anything at all, rather than his work. I think the canary was my Muse. Not dead yet, but swiftly flying away.
I was a miner. Now, even a quarry wouldn’t employ me to pick over rubble.