No Go Flow

The subject of ‘flow’ has come up a few times recently and given that I am stuck on page one of an assignment, it seems particularly apt.

It is true that there is nothing quite so joyous as finding oneself able to write without any apparent obstruction – to feel the words coming to mind in a joyful synchronicity as your fingers trip lightly over the keyboard and the blank page fills before your eyes, but in truth that does not ever really happen. Besides there is the other problem.

I hate the word flow. Whenever I hear it I think of hippies and their straggly hair, hipster beards or worst of all, unsavory adverts for sanitary products. The word to me even sounds wrong, more like a blockage than movement.

To make matters worse, I have still not been able to achieve ‘flow’ with my assignment. I have managed to bash out 900 words of the 1500 required, but these are very much first draft words, chunks of paragraphs with no connecting argument. It is slow going. This essay will not be good, so I am aiming for just good enough, which is not, really. I have one more day at the office, then a day when I am going to have to spend four hours in a car and then one weekend day and then work on the other after which the assignment is due.

Time, unlike my words, is flowing away like mad.

I once worked with someone on a project to create a fun learning experience for kids about water sustainability. It was a tricky subject to sell, but my hopes were raised somewhat when the colleague announced in a meeting – by way of a grand reveal- that she had decided on the name of the resource. Always good to have a name, she assured us confidently. It sets the tone and gives us direction. Then she announced the proposed name: Flows.

Flows? Flows? I mean that did not even sound like a noun, as I believe names are usually classed. It sounded like a verb, and a pretty awful one. I looked around the room and it seemed that everyone was in tacit agreement but too polite to say anything. There was no escaping it, the idea had gone down like a turd in a trifle.

In the end, this person left the project for reasons that were unconnected to the awful name and we were in the lucky position of having to start again. Try as I might, though, I could not think of an alternative name. Somehow ‘Flows’ had got stuck in my head like some sort of brain worm and I could not think of anything better. Eventually I had the brilliant idea of giving the job of naming it to the kids who would be using it – or at least the sample group who were testing it for us. It took them about 30 seconds to come up with the idea of Splash.

Splash – of course! It was a great name, it had excitement and energy, it was the same name of a highly successful movie made by a litigious studio, but that did not matter, Splash it was and Splash it became. More fun, better connection but unfortunately for the kids, the same amount of homework.

So I will revisit my essay tomorrow, and look not for flow, but for Splash – a much more optimistic ending.


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