I’ve finally managed to create a workstation in my bedroom. I was driven up here by the draughts from the kitchen. From January through to March it’s not a receptive room. Heater and cooker one end, a table, french doors and winter the other. A chant from geography lessons of yesteryear comes to mind. Warm air rises and cold air takes its place. I’m with the warm.
Years ago, I spent a week on an Arvon foundation writing course in Lumb Bank, an 18th century mill owner’s house in West Yorkshire and former home to Ted Hughes. I formed an attachment to the writer’s sheds. potted across the grounds. They look like the outhouse from Little House on the Prairie only these have a window. At the time I was saving to buy my first home – a one bed flat -when all I really wanted to do was blow my deposit on one of those sheds. It’s footprint is not much bigger than a telephone box, or a burial plot come to think of it.
It never happened and when I watch an old western and see a latrine I start to get tetchy about my unfulfilled wish. Though if I can’t bear to sit at the far end of my kitchen to write during these winter months, I’d be unlikely to head to my shed.
It’s all got to happen upstairs. In November I committed myself to 10 hours of home computer work. Research work. I very nearly offered to do more. I’m so glad I didn’t. I can just about squeeze those hours into my week. It is helping me see my time as a commodity where I didn’t before so this is good. I am much less likely to go for a coffee after school drop-off and very unlikely to suggest coffees in the first instance.
2014 will prove to be a great teacher – this I know. Me being a PAYE again has eased the financial pressure some and bought me more time to sort out the big stuff (what I really need to be doing).
One of my projects for 2014 is launching a children’s creative writing club later this month. We have our first booking in my daughter’s school. For a number of months E, my collaborator, and myself have been meeting on this. The Head at our school was impressed by our pitch and the 16 places went within the first week.
I am a reading group facilitator at a local library. I do this as a volunteer and was asked to choose a niche topic. I went with memoirs though we are happy to consider autobiographies too. In his own memoir Palimpsest: A Memoir, Gore Vidal differentiates the two. “A memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked. Memoirs sound more fun.
Being community-minded, I was happy to become a library volunteer. Occasionally they use me to conduct surveys on their behalf. They had me DBS checked (I’m harmless) and once a month they provide me with a room and a kettle.
I liked the idea of anyone walking through the door that first time and they did. We won’t be reading about Katie Price. They are a high brow bunch. Better read than me.
One of them, in her seventies now, was an art critic with the Evening Standard and wrote for Readers Digest too. The stories she could tell – I suggested she write her memoirs but she’s left it a little too late and her memory is not as sharp as it was or would need to be. She still has us enthralled when something triggers and we are treated to an on the spot account.
The book for this month is “The hare with the amber eyes” by Edmund De Waal.
I like being in a library and discussing books. I also knew it would be useful for me to get some exposure to working with a group. Now that I’m going all time is money I hope this won’t be something I’ll need to shed for the higher purpose. I started watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. Compulsive viewing but I’ve stalled on season 5, episode 2. Because I don’t have the time. A record breaking 10.3 m people watched the season finale and I wasn’t one of them. When I get to watch those episodes I’ll know I’ve sorted out my time. Because right now there just doesn’t seem to be enough of it.
I haven’t mentioned my counselling classes which take up Fridays starting again next week. Or the therapeutic writing and speculative feature writing (separate items). There’s an Artist’s Way group I’d like to run too. And this blog needs more attention from me and the unsuspecting public. Oh, throw parenting and wifery in to the mix too.
“MT, you don’t work do you?” I’ve heard it said. The hell I don’t.