Claudette Colbert and the Fine Art of the Displacement Activity


Heck! It’s been two weeks since I last posted. For shame. But I’ve been busy. What? Ooh all sorts of things. Those kitchen cupboards really did need a scrub. And then I ran out of cat milk, so that was at least one trip to the pet shop. And then there was Claudette. She’s not solely to blame,but can I help it if YouTube has an inexhaustable supply of Hollywood classics available for my viewing pleasure, at all hours of the day?  No. Am I at fault if the lesser known vintage film ‘Sleep My Love’ ensnares my feeble will within 90 seconds and I am compelled to watch on?  No.  I mean, it was clear from the start that that Don Ameche was a wrong ‘un, but how much he was willing to torture his poor, beautiful, sophisticated and, did I mention, wealthy, wife, I had to know. One hour and thirty one minutes later, all was resolved. But wait, if I liked that movie, perhaps I’d like this one, or that documentary…and on it goes. Another blog post unwritten and another few hours set aside for the podcast gone in a puff of Claudette’s elegant cigarette. (Is it just me,or must everything have stunk to high heaven of smoke and tar in the 1940’s?)

Why do we procrastinate so, when getting the job done would be infinitely healthier for our stress levels? Are we afraid, or is it pure sloth?

I posit, in the first podcast episode (coming soon, I promise!), that the little voice inside one’s head is the most insidious barrier to creativity I know. Maybe I should give mine a name. Claudette, perhaps. But I’m not sure whether it’s male or female and this is not the place I want to start any musings on gender interplay.

Can you deafen yourself to the words of the little voice, or would doing that mean it shouts all the louder in the future?  My personal view is that you can train yourself to do just that, without the risk of greater harm down the line. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which has gained in acceptance and usage in recent times is predicated on exactly this, so there’s a theory behind it. How successful any of us can be at ridding ourselves of what is,after all, a fear of failure, without outside help, I just don’t know.

I interviewed a good friend and creator for the podcast the other week. She said ‘If you wake up in the morning and you don’t feel like doing a blog post, maybe it’s the wrong thing for you.’ She used blogging as an example, but it could apply to most creative endeavours, and Squatting Toad is all about the creative endeavour.

Do you feel excited if you sit down to create something of your own? Or do you feel nervous? For some, that fear can be channelled healthily into driving the process. On a personal level, that’s what I’m working towards.

Episode one of the podcast is nearly done and it will be a milestone for me. I’m not aiming for millions of listeners. I am aiming to create something I like and that I hope others will too.

I want to believe that every day she was at work, making those glamorous films, Claudette Colbert, and others like her, revelled in the excitement of it all, and that it went some way to overcoming any anxiety. We know, of course, that the self-medicating anxious, nay neurotic, star performer is a cliche with its roots in the reality of the high pressure put upon the highly successful. Well, let’s not aim to get to that right now. Let’s take joy in the fact that we have so many opportunities to create and, for some of us, a finished product is almost a reality.

Happy creating



Author: squattingtoad

Mel is a comedy writer and performer, with a particular interest in creativity and a cynical interest in the workplace and how its idiosyncrasies (nicest word she could find) can drive us all mad.

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