It occurs to me that I have been in favour of The Backstop Position for quite some time now. Possibly 40 years? Probably since I became responsible for more than just myself. A proper job, a home to pay rent on, bills to pay etc. In my youth this might have appeared in the guise of “What is the very least I can get away with?”/laziness… but I have come to realise it’s more complicated than that.
“What is the very least I can get away with?” is actually just a different angle on “What are my responsibilities?” And “Can I do what I have promised?” So what happens is, I make the promise, I take on the responsibility, knowing that it can be fulfilled probably fairly easily. This is the Backstop Position. Not being able to fulfil a promise, meet a deadline, meet a responsibility actually fills me with dread. I find it stressful. I also find it stressful when other people miss.
I used to find it stressful when my sons pushed deadlines for homework.
“Something dreadful might happen and you won’t have anything to hand in!”
I used to even teach to the backstop position, getting my students to just do SOMETHING so they at least had a bare minimum to hand in if some disaster befell them. As if, while under a bus, they’d plead with the paramedics “please… hand in my essay notes…..”
So wind forward a few decades and I’ve just noticed I am doing the same with my Arts Council project. I have promised to deliver the achievable… and now, at the half way point, I am feeling that if the disaster befell me, I could deliver what I promised. I can relax in that knowledge. If they asked for the results tomorrow I could hand in my essay notes, some drawings, some sounds and it would be good. I am a professional… I can hold my head high… self esteem… not letting anyone down… earning respect of my peers… blah blah blah… (for this you can also read in “Don’t get fired!”)
And now this is where the interesting bit happens…
I can do ANYTHING now. This is where the real interesting stuff happens. I have fulfilled the promise, so now my time is my own and I can be the pirate, the revolutionary, the hijacker, the maverick.
NOW I can make it better, and certainly more interesting!
So in some ways THIS is the beginning of the true project that will take things further forward into uncharted territory. THIS is where the fun starts. THIS is where the hard work starts in earnest… so let’s start ripping things up a bit…