This afternoon Ken invented a game to play with Louis, our grandson. He called it “Fulcrum”. As I pounded away at the keyboard out in the office I could hear Ken call out “Fulcrum” and then there would be a thump, a giggle and a splash.
Louis is not quite two years old and every Thursday, he comes to our house to spend the day mucking around. This morning, we (Ken, Louis and I) went on an adventure up the street to buy him new sandals but the deadline for India Dark was calling so once he was asleep in his pusher, I ran out to the office and buried myself in the manuscript again. When Louis woke up from his nap, Ken pulled out the paddle pool and though I could hear Louis asking ‘Where kirrsseee?’ I had to keep working. I longed to go and muck about with water and bubbles and stories as we usually do on Thursday afternoons but the impending deadline kept me tethered to the keyboard.
When Bella, Louis’ mum, turned up to collect him, I slipped out of the office for a cup of tea and discovered exactly what ‘Fulcrum’ means. Louis was sitting beside the paddle pool with a giant wooden mallet, a metal spatula and a blue building block. Carefully, he balanced the spatula across the building block, set a plastic animal on one end of the spatula, and then pounded the other end with his wooden mallet so the plastic horse/pig/zoo animal flew into the air and landed ‘splash’ in the paddle pool. The ‘fulcrum’ was the blue building block, the pivot of the see-saw that made it possible to send the plastic animal on its spectacular trajectory.
It’s hard to remember to put the blue building block in place. Those wonderful, carefree moments when you fly through the air are only possible if you remember the fulcrum, the pivot of existence that makes balance possible.
I can’t wait until India Dark is winging its way to my editors desk. Perhaps, sometimes, we forget the fulcrum at the expense of all those precious things that make a creative life worthwhile.