Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Monday, June 20, 2005

Cruel Banana

There are no words to describe how depressed and empty I feel the closer I get to my place of work in a geographical sense. I feel like I am wasting daily opportunities to write and learn and contribute something worthwhile. I feel I am losing out on being able to spend my life doing something that I want to do, not what I am told is what I should be doing.

Which is why I get so hacked off sometimes in the evenings when I am unable to write because of all the things that need to be done. Gail nipped out for a while so I tidied the house, fed Laura, did her homework and got my own dinner sorted. I finally sat down to write at 9pm - just when Ian showed up to work in the house.

So with Laura just in her bed, the drilling and sawing started and if I couldn't concentrate downstairs I don't know how Laura managed to sleep in the room along the hall.

Then of course he came down looking for a cup of tea and a biscuit. Not a problem but it was now 10pm and I still had yet to write a single word. One of the traits that run through Gail's family is the ability to talk. And I mean talk!

It was after 11pm before Ian finished talking and his second cup of tea.

I'm fully aware all of this may sound somewhat selfish and rich considering he is doing work on the house, but the other side of the coin is as a result of having this arrangement, I don't get to do what I want even in my own home. Further, I can't remember the last time me and Gail actually sat down together and alone to watch a film or something, because Ian is always there or Gail is out or I am out or just something gets in the way.

My writing may seem trivial and amateurish, maybe childish to some, but to me it is my life. It is what I am and how I want to earn a living if possible. As such, I approach it with the importance and commitment it deserves, and not just a hobby. Which is why it gets on my nerves when I am compelled not to go into my world to write and entertain instead. This happens every week and we haven't finished one room yet. Is this to tbe the norm for the next 10 years until the house is the way Gail wants it?

If I was writing full-time, how could I expect to make any money when I cannot get peace to write even at such a late hour in my own home?

But, I can't be seen to complain as we are saving thousands on labour costs. But where is the balance to be struck, between privacy and having your in-laws saunter in the door whenever they feel like it because they are doing you a favour or talking to you for hours when you are trying to work - however meaningless and comical it mugth be to them.

Just as I was falling to sleep the phone rang. It was work and the time was 00:50. I haven't been called out for months so it was typical it had to happen tonight. By the time the problem was resolved and I began to wind down again, it was approaching 2am. And they wonder why I love working for them so much.

I had taped a show about London's landscape as seen and told by Suggs (singer from Madness). I ended up watching ot to get tired again; his take of the streets of Soho to Camden was fascinating; the colours and the people of the city that inspire much of the lyrics in his songs. It made me want to visit London again - I miss it.
Colin 11:47 am


You need to find a "safe space" where you can go for x amount of hours per week, scheduled, just like it was a second job.

They have writers' spaces for rent here in NY -- I don't know if they have something like that in Edinburgh, or if you could rent a small meeting room or something.

Pick three nights per week for X hours and that is your uninterrupted work time while the house is being worked on. Everyone else just has to deal. It is non-negotiable. If that means making arrangements for a sitter because Gail has to be out that evening to, so be it.
Bottom line: People who don't write, don't get it. They think writing is just some pasttime that's not serious when you're the one busting your butt tryint to scratch out a living or just get published. I empathize so much with you. I was in the same boat not long ago.

It's hard to make those you love understand how important writing is to you. But it can be done. Hang in there.
I agree with what Devon said. You need to schedule writing time for yourself, OUT of the house.
My favorite places are the Public library (quiet) Barnes & Noble (sort of like a library, but with the pervading smell of coffee and nice squishy chairs to write in) and whenever life got too crazy for me, I'd escape to those places.
Keep your chin up, Col. This too shall pass...
I will add my agreement with the others. You only live once. Life is short, and you never know what might happen (as your recent misadventure proves!). You have GOT to treat your art as a priority, and find some way to make others know that your writing time and space are critical to achieving what you want in life. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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