That’s what my New Year’s Resolution is. Not literally, obviously: I’m not really the hunting sort, and anyway as far as I know there aren’t any round here. But I was thinking, randomly, about Michael Rosen’s fabulous book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. My kids loved it, and so did I, despite its odd scansion (I tried lots of ways, and found it best done in 4/4 time: We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day. (pause) We’re not scared (rest). I know. But otherwise it just upsets me.)
Anyway, I was thinking about it as a metaphor, and about how I do my very best to avoid stuff. In fact, when I read Bear Hunt I usually think to myself, ah, but he hasn’t said anything about going round it – we could go round it. Which is not the point. The point, as Mr Rosen tells us several times, is that we have to go through it. No pussy-footing around, no stopping to ask if we mightn’t be better letting the bear get away. The hunt is a given, so we’ve just got to get on with it. No excuses, no elaborate avoidance, just getting on. In the seventies if I’d been old enough to worry about my procrastination I’d have bought one of those dark brown wooden things people’s parents gave each other to hang on the wall next to the flying ducks: a Round Tuit (‘you’ve always talked about getting a round tuit and now you’ve got one’). But bear hunting seems more suited to now, more in keeping with the hipster beards and the authentic experiences we’re all after.
I think everyone could benefit from a bit of bear hunting in 2016. The bear can be whatever you want it to be, naturally. For me, it’s a finished script, or a story. I’m not going to get bogged down in the mud of the internet, or the forest of half-formed ideas, nor am I going to lie down in the long grass of the fields of daydreams, or get washed away in the river of self-doubt. I’m going to picture that bear and head for it. And I’m going to keep going until I find it. And when I do, and it’s big and scary and staring at me from the corner of the dark cave and it sends me running, I’m going to be running with the exhilaration of having actually followed something through, (literally, in both senses). And then I’m going to go back out there and do it all again.
PS I should at this point confess I’m writing this when I should be writing something else, which means I’ve left the bear for a minute and gone off after an interesting butterfly instead, but hey, it’s not the new year yet…