I have discovered that sex, photography, and building model airplanes have a great deal in common – leaving aside the question of what you do with the tube of glue, the most noticeable thing is that when you find you are doing something that is hard work, expensive, and makes you feel bad….you are doing it wrong.
I don’t decry hard work in the sun, sweating and heaving, with the crack of the overseer’s whip lashing your back. This is how things should be in the retail trade, after all. And there may be a certain amount of whip cracking in the sex business, or so I have been told. But the other two endeavours can be done without pain or sunburn, surely.
Expense attaches itself to everything we do. You can hardly go for a walk in the park without fending off beggars showing you their open sores. As much fun as this is, and you’d be surprised what you can do with a sharpened walking stick, it all adds up to money spent. Trips to the shops are even worse. Stroll through Burlington Arcade as casually as you might, and avert your eye as you will, you find eventually that you are bearing home a diamond bracelet and bang, there’s sixpence gone.
As for feeling bad, this is not as much fun as it used to be. One used to be able to give oneself over to fits of melancholy and either moon about the manse or sit drinking in the study. You could roam the countryside on dark, stormy nights savaging things. Now you are pestered by do-gooders who want to wrest every corpse from your hands and ply you with cups of tea and cheerful memes. God’s Sake, People. Can’t we feel vile without having to feel bad about it.
The answer to all this is to relax the iron grip of ambition and do things for pleasure at a leisurely pace. Do not try to cram avarice, debauchery, and madness all into one afternoon. Take one horrid act at a time – give it several days to play out, and don’t sully the mud with water.