|Dear Santa...please bring less dust next year|
There must be no greater thrill than that for a writer who knows there’s a fortnight’s worth of ‘time’ available to them in the form of a seasonal break (“End of Term” some like to call it).
And I’m always so stuffed full with good intentions that I’m surprised they don’t start seeping from every orifice with the excess of them. However, I also know full well that about three days before I’m due to go back to the paid work, I will realise I’ve positively frittered away this precious ‘time’ (again) in the pursuit of needless activities that could just as easily be shoehorned into evenings I already squander watching mind-numbingly pedestrian televised ‘entertainment’ (again).
It doesn’t matter how creative I get with this ‘time’, I just can’t seem to make writing my priority. There’s always something else that I’ll “just quickly do” before I can settle. Like that thing dogs do when they turn round and round and round in their baskets before they find the exact right place to bed their weary fur. And they always sigh with such pleasure when they find it. This is the sigh I long for. This is the sigh I need before I can write, care free.
There’s always housework. Especially dusting. Which was clearly invented by a man. No woman in her right mind would have decided that an accumulation of small particles of debris really has to be eradicated in the pursuit of personal calm. It doesn’t bother ME, so why should it bother anybody else? And, like my husband’s always telling me, he didn’t marry for my housekeeping skills - so I can’t argue with that one - it must be me who’s giving me the hard time.
Piles of paperwork. Stuff that needs to be sorted, windows that need to be cleaned (why don’t window cleaners do the insides too?) and cooking that has to be done in order to satisfy hungry bellies. Why? Can these hungry humans not open a can or slice from a loaf just as well as I can? Why is it considered MY place to be nurturing these co-dwellers? If I had it my way, I’d be perfectly content with a cup of tea every hour and a Hob-Nob on demand. Twenty-four-seven. No, honestly. That’s as high-maintenance as I’m likely to get.
It’s because it’s not ‘real’. It’s still the stuff of dreams. It’s what most people still regard as my ‘hobby’. My mother used to proudly show off her knitting and I’d nod as enthusiastically as I could to a row of plains and purls. With my Nan it was her steak and kidney puddings; my Dad could skin a rabbit with his eyes shut (as were mine mostly). My brother could have played football for Leeds United and my husband can turn any piece of wood into something beautiful and practical. So why can’t I just get on with my own talent and create something wonderful without placing these unnecessary obstacles in my own way all the time?
I guess if I can’t consider my writing to be as important or as valuable of my time that I genuinely want it to be, then I can't expect anybody else to take me seriously.
Right. Deep breath. I have a fortnight. I have the Christmas fortnight. And I’ve heard that at Christmas, magical things can happen. Oh, and if Santa can't manage that Dust-Free Year I've asked for, perhaps I'll just take to wearing sunglasses as a kind of perpetual nod to festive irony.
So - a happy and housework-free Write Christmas, one and all!