I had a lovely time at Polly Toynbee and Tim Dowling’s Guardian Masterclass: Writing Opinion Pieces yesterday evening. A central common point stressed by the political and personal columnists was in praise of deadlines; not much gets done unless (sometimes until) it has to.
Tim’s weekend column for the Guardian is the main reason I and at least one member of my family bother to text each other regularly (“Have you seen what the tortoise has done now?”). So, as a perfect exercise in deadlines, I challenged myself and Tim’s self-effacement about how much of an effect he has on his audience, by writing my first-ever sonnet in twenty-four hours. You don’t have to be a Star Trek fan to read it – but it helps.
There’s been no truer or more constant love,
None deeper shared, by all agreed upon
Than our home’s for your tortoise, squirrel, wife
And children in Saturday’s Guardian.
You stand, not unlike John de Lancie when
He Q in Star Trek was (manlier e’en
Than Picard although not yet half so bald)
Inviting us to seek our voice in our opinions.
That, and a deadline – and a line too good
To pass up through politeness – is the trick
If trick there is (There isn’t, less it be
Impending deadline. Alright, fair enough).
No greater gift than deadlines writers move:
It’s why I wrote a sonnet on the tube.