Monday, 20 December 2010

Dreaming of a Write Christmas

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!

10 comments:

Paul said...

I have ten days before me (well, eight are now left) before I must return to the soul-killing routine of the office, and I imagine filling this free time with lots of quality writing. So far, it ain't happening. Family is arriving. Visits to friends must be made. Even the dogs sense that I have more time to give them.

I expect that once the "novelty" of free time passes, I'll probably settle into a routine of more writing, but that will only happen when my free time is about up.

Ah well, best intentions!

Helen Black said...

I sent my edited proofs back to me ed last week.
This means that book four is in the bag - there is nothing whatsoever for me to do now.

I should make some more headway on book five, but I suspect I won't.

I will however, read a lot, which I do consider a major part of my work.
HB x

Kate said...

I'm impressed with anyone who manages to get any writing done over the holidays! I doubt I'll do anything until the kids go back to school!

Lindsay said...

I do feel for you - dust, food and piles of paperwork! I have lots of those too especially the latter, but now get the violin out because if, like me, you work for the NHS for the 'day' job - it's no more than 2 days annual leave over the Christmas period - so precious little time for writing! I hope some of your time is creative.

Debs Riccio said...

Guys, I feel your pain and I feel much less alone in my quest of 'busy doing nothing' - Happy Holidays to you all, however brief and however unfulfilled!

Deb said...

The dust (surely the work of the devil) will always be there, Debs. But at least we're not back in the 80's where every surface was black-ash. No sooner had you polished the black-ash coffee table, then started on the black-ash shelving unit, the coffee table would need polishing again and round and round you would go.
Now get that bum on chair, fingers on keyboard and get writing!

notesfromnadir said...

Hope you get lots accomplished during the fortnight! The thing is to find moderation & don't sit in front of the computer for too long without taking a break. Also, if you see too many chores or projects that need your attention, take 20 minutes to do something chorelike, then get back to your writing!

Caroline Green said...

I command you to walk about intoning 'I am a WRITER, I am a WRITER' for at least 24 hours.
I love your dog analogy!

Debs Riccio said...

Doing the 20-minute chore-thing sounds like a great idea but now can we find a nicer way to say 'chore' to trick my brain please?

Stu said...
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