As a writer, do you ever get those writing days where time seems to go backwards and the tick of a wall clock is louder than your thoughts? I do, on a regular basis. I refer to them as ‘humdrum days.’ The band 10cc wrote a whole song about them, titled, The Dean and I.
Origins of Humdrum
Humdrum, has an almost onomatopoeic feel about it. The Oxford Dictionary lists it’s meaning as ‘lacking excitement or variety; boringly monotonous,’ and is believed to have been first used in the English language around the 1550’s.
According to William Holloway’s General Dictionary of Provincialisms, (1839), a Humdrum was a small cart with three wheels, usually drawn by one horse. The word coming from the humming sound the cart made.
This dictionary also lists an alternative use of the word, describing someone in Somerset as, ‘Dull, stupid.’ ; or in Hampshire and Sussex as ‘a dull, heavy, uninteresting person.’ Humdrum has also been used as a slang term at various times to describe a wife, a husband, and a parson.
So much excitement packed into such a drab word. There is enough there to drive a writer and their muse to the page. And it did!
Even the budgie looks bored. Joey hangs Upside down, to relieve his monotony. Crash Test Dummies plant ear worms And dull the increasing tick of a clock. Dog - the Alsatian - lists in a corner, Too numbstruck for sleep, or attempts To kill a moment. While I slouch On tightropes between sanity And madness, scrunched paper Clutters every available space. Fed up with scrawling inane stanzas, I throw down the pen and stroll.
This poem features in my debut poetry collection, All Mine. You can hear an audio version below.
Do you ever get days like this? How do you deal with them? I would love to hear your remedies, or should that be maladies?