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Shquirrel“Be a dear,” the Drama Teacher said, “and put together something Shakespearean for the Squirrels.”

“What kind of something?”

“Oh, something…”

“Shakespeare chunks within some sort of framing device?”

“That’s my girl!”

And because the Drama Teacher taught me back in the day, and I love her dearly, I said yes, and I’d do it, only please don’t be in haste. This happened more than a month ago but, lacking the sense God gave a duckling, I let time pass, and pass, and pass… Until the other day – when, having finished the second draft, I called the DT and told her I was working for her.

“Oh, good,” she said. “And we’ve been reading Julius Ceasar, you know. Act III, Antony and the crowd… Throw it in, will you?  And if you had it sort of ready for Monday next, it’d be perfect.”

So now, instead of generic Shakespeare chunks within a generic frame, I find myself with Antony… by Monday. And you know what? The limit has fired up possibilities – including the one I’m going for: the power of words, manipulation… This kind of thing. Enough that Monday I’ll have something sort of ready for the DT and the Squirrels. Something, I trust, not half bad.

It’s not enormously surprising, after all. In part it’s what I fondly call Tactical Procrastination – because there’s nothing like a looming deadline – and in part it’s the Power of the Limit. The moment I give myself – or someone gives me – something I must or cannot do, that’s when ideas burgeon and blossom and bloom.

I won’t say it’s the best, sanest or most efficient of methods – why, it’s hardly even a method at all – but… what can I say? It works.