So, still struggling with priorities, then? Warning: less of a post, more of a rant, so read on only if you are really interested or really sympathetic…
Half past eleven on Sunday morning, and we were having a lovely walk in the country park, enjoying the first sunshine and above-zero temperatures for days. Yet Grumpygills here couldn’t reap maximum benefit, as I’d already succumbed to bile blacker than the coffee in my George Clooney mug.*
*generously gifted by the inestimable Sirens in commemoration of many “George Clooney moments” achieved in rehearsals for both the Palestrina Third Book of Lamentations and Josquin des Prez’s equal-voiced Alma Redemptoris mater.
You’d have thought that falling heavily on a slippery wooden bridge would have been the last straw, and it almost was. I had to fight back the tears right the way through the remaining half hour of the walk, and very nearly decked Son No 2, just for doing what nine-year-olds do best (i.e. swagger and badger). And I resented like hell the fact that Pete did not understand that my measured, “I’m feeling a little uncomfortable and would rather like to get back to the car soon,” actually meant, “I HURT LIKE **** AND I WANT TO GO HOME, NOW!” Not my finest moment.
But the truth was I’d been making excuses for my vile mood all weekend, right from the moment that I chose the wrong route home in Son No 1′s driving lesson back from college on Friday evening, when we ended up in a traffic jam. I knew that I would be back out in the same jam less than an hour later on the way to Son No 2′s umpteenth football training session of the week, so I had every right to be unhappy. But then I just blamed it on the need for SnarlStop (i.e., any snack that can even temporarily raise the blood sugar to functioning levels).
Back to Sunday; and oddly, having realised I would be spending the rest of the afternoon on the sofa, I was also able to come to terms with the root of my chronic ill temper, which was – quelle surprise – the state of my writing on Friday afternoon. I am, I’m ashamed to say, the perfect caricature of the petulant artiste, furious with everything and everybody if work is not going well.
In the middle of the week, I finally abandoned the chapter I’ve been working on for the last few months. I was at my wits’ end with it and gradually realised that if I was hating writing it, folk would almost certainly hate reading it, too. So I parked it on the hard drive, and decided to start on the introduction. Normally, I would have left this until last but something told me that if I could get on with it, maybe I’d work out what I’m really trying to write. And, lo and behold, the words started to fly on the keyboard. Then Friday morning, it all screeched to a halt again.
Maybe I was tired. Maybe I was distracted. But I sure wasn’t in the zone. It all picked up in the middle of the afternoon, huzzah, another 500 words and then suddenly the phone rings and it’s, “Mum, can you come and pick me up? I won’t get any driving in today if you don’t.” Completely unable to say no, and (if I’m honest) fully aware that it was going to make me unbearable to be around, I sighed and turned off my computer with my brain somewhere still in 1586.
There has to be an alternative to blaming my family for having the temerity to exist when I could so easily carry on writing until the cows come home (as Pete once put it, these are no ordinary cows, they are space cows who have been lost in the galaxy since the collapse of their mission to find alternatives to their home planet, Bovinia, which has since been destroyed in a cloud of methane).
My mother once wryly proposed that I needed a wife. That was a long time ago, and I still don’t have one. I do have a cleaner, but that in itself can provoke frustration and resentment when things aren’t where I left them (especially if I just left them “somewhere”), or my socks get mixed up with Son 2′s (our feet are nearly the same size), or if the saucepans don’t have the right lid on them. Any excuse for a moody, because every little twinge is a reminder that a) I’m not as in control as I think I am; and b) I can’t do everything that I think I should be doing.
A wife: shorthand for someone who not only does all the things you think/know have to be done, but that you don’t want to do right now – but also does all the organising for you. A wife would be able to organise this post into a beginning, middle, end, but as I don’t have one, I think it will just peter out.
Now, there, that’s better. On with the chapter.