3.07am or thereabouts, I wake, then can’t get back to sleep, and my mind cranks itself up a notch. This is a sign. Of late, I’ve been a writer who doesn’t write. It’s a temporary thing to start with; a few missed days, then a week, then a fretful month, and I start to chastise myself that I should be doing better. It’s not that I won’t write, it’s that I can’t write. So regular is this on-again/off-again style of mine, that I wonder if this is just how it goes with me.
We went skiing. Well, I spent half the week skiing, then caught a cold that led me to be hotel-bound. Aren’t hotels peculiar places in the day time? They live a half-life, waiting for guests to return in the evening and, particularly in ski resorts, there’s an unspoken rule that everyone must be out and up the mountain. If you’re not, then why are you there? I binge-watched ‘Stranger Things‘ and ached for my childhood of the 80’s, complete with white ankle boots and Chopper bikes.
I lectured undergraduates on writing and blogging and then following that, proceeded to not write, nor blog! It was like talking about it distilled it. They say those who can’t do, teach? The blog waits in the wings for me, ready when I need it. We enter year eight of blogging and I recall the heady days of daily posts and collaboration between the blog community, which now, has resolutely moved over to Instagram. I spend too much time on Instagram; it is a time-suck, especially stories.
I decide to shift the novel from first person to third person and the enormity of this rears up in front of me like a roadblock. I am trying to skirt round it. I study my own indecision and conclude that I have the luxury of time, and it’s working against me. I can’t help thinking if I still had a demanding job, I might have just penned this damn novel at night. Would it have been keener to get out? I scan job websites.
I fret about single use plastic and wonder how we – and by this I mean my generation – can have gone for so many years not considering the impact of using plastic in everything. The insanity of it; did we really think it would just go away? Turns out biodegradable means in a 100 years, by which time our children’s children will be surrounded by mountains of the stuff. I imagine the oceans thick and oily with pollution. It makes me shudder and I buy beeswax food covers and a water bottle with a fairly pretentious chunk of Japanese charcoal in it (to filter, of course) and feel marginally better.
The weather barrels on with rain and murk, small suggestions of Spring which don’t quite materialise, but the promise is there. Daffodils, birdsong, morning light. One day it will be summer again.
I buy an Anthony Burrill poster. My teeth ache. I listen to an Oprah Winfrey ‘Super Soul Sunday‘ book on Audible and it causes my head to spin as they discuss giving oneself up to the universe. I consider my universe. My friend suggests to me that I need to get outside of my own head. I order an embroidery cross-stitch kit and await its arrival with interest. I drive my kids around. I start using retinol on my skin. I walk the dog; there’s so much water in the earth that I can literally hear it seeping, because of the thaw of the recent, random snowfall.
Ultimately, going back to the universe, I decide what it boils down to is this: please yourself. If you can master that, you’re halfway there! That, and get good sleep! This is how life goes, the layering of stuff and thoughts and work and rest. I read this back and think, with a shamed face: first world problems. Resolve to do better/try harder/finish the novel/stop thinking so much.