Back to work this week.... for my SO this has been a very physical thing. He had to get up when the alarm rang at 7am, drag himself to the shower and put on suitable clothing for going to an office. He left the house at 8.15am when I was still slapping myself around the face to try and wake up. I contemplated going back to bed the minute he had left the building but that seemed like too much of an act of no solidarity. I drank coffee in my lounging pyjamas until 10am instead- at least I was semi conscious. The cat might disagree; I noticed he’d knocked his bag of biscuits to the floor and helped himself. Breakfast was obviously not fast enough for him.
Freelancing is a very different way of working and I have been used to years of frantic deadlines up until Christmas Eve and then nothing until mid February- when the salaried workers have finally shuffled enough paper to prepare briefs and deadlines for the following year. I’m under no illusions about the productivity of an office in the weeks before Waitangi Day. Everyone is thinking about the summer break they had (or didn’t have because of flooding at their camping spot), the BBQ’s still to be had (with good weather finally kicking in) and the ever present needs of children still on holiday (unless you are the CEO of a City Council that is...sorry to cast aspersions Tony). They are there in body but minds have yet to catch up and throw themselves into unwilling craniums. It's the Stepford time of summer, and everyone's a robot in the workplace.
For years I’ve been grateful for the lack of commissions over the latter part of January. It's allowed endless holiday time (unpaid of course) in which to potter about, read, go to movies with the kids, dig about in the garden and foray to the beach, weather permitting. Jan 9th to Feb 7th was the caregiver’s dream instead of the working mother’s nightmare. It has also created a Pavlovian reaction in me to the extent that I find myself on January 11th unable to drag myself back to my workstation for anything other than Facebooking, Googling why my Android phone won’t download apps anymore (oh the hours I can waste with this one!) and looking up recipes for great salads (we have a lot of courgettes and spinach coming on...)
This wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have things to do- namely finish illustrations for an educational reader, start pencil roughs for a picture book and create finished collages for an iPad app. This is apart from two entries for Wearable Art I have planned and the ever present novel I owe it to my conscience to finish writing. I feel terribly guilty at not doing anything more productive than helping my daughter sort through her stuff to sell before moving to another city and giving my son a lift to Bunnings to buy wood for a project he’s building at his flat. I SHOULD be into it, raring to go and leaping into action. I SHOULD be planning my year and how I’m going to take over the world Fifi style. I SHOULD be reading worthy books to feed the literary part of my mind. I SHOULD be pounding away at the keyboard, writing something other than this post and creating enormous success for my future. I WAS supposed to do a hot air balloon ride this year as research for that bit of writing...
But actually, when I read the last line of Harriet’s blog, “Life can change in an instant so appreciate every one, who knows what is around the corner?” the wise words of my friend’s beautiful 18 year old daughter dealing with cancer, I realised that what I’m doing right now is fine; spending time with my family and nibbling around the edges of work. I’ll get it done- I’m good at reaching deadlines; I pride myself on it.
I’ll finish writing the novel, if I finish writing the novel. It won’t change anyone’s life except my own if I do or if I don’t. And even then not by much. I might even biff it off the hard drive and free up some bytes for more blogs!
This year I’m not going to try so hard. It’s exhausting and I much prefer to let things percolate and have serendipity take its course. If I had a clear plan with goals and milestones and knew what I was going to be doing by September, I’ll be bored by March. Besides, as Harriet says...
In the meantime, come and laze with me at the Bloom Festival in Matakana Jan 20-22nd. I’ll be telling stories and running workshops along with a huge bunch of wonderful performers in art, writing and music. The perfect filler upper before work really starts for the year- enjoying the summer and the fact you don’t really have to do anything much with your brain right now except soak up some creative nourishment so you too can sprout this year. Bloom and grow, bloom and grow...
Hell Fifi - that's a lot of shoulds - maybe what you're doing right now is perfect?
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