Why Building Castles in the Air isn’t Wrong but Why trying to Collect the Rent Is.

 

Why Building Castles in the Air isn’t Wrong but Why trying to Collect the Rent Is.

 

The last few days have been a bit weird. One of my decisions this year was to find a new job, something that replaces unreliable hours and last minute assignments with something a little more predictable and better paid. I enjoy what I do, but I don’t enjoy not being able to plan time off or make financial decisions. So I signed up with a recruitment agency in the hopes of finding something that met my unusual set of skills and experience.

On Monday I applied for something quite interesting, more as a kind of, “Well, why not, you never know!” and to be honest, expected nothing to come of it. But I was offered an interview and was told I was a strong candidate. The interview was today.

Before I get to the outcome, I shall explain the last few days as succinctly as a can. I had some panic about certain aspects of the job, but decided I’d give it a shot and see. Travelling on the train( not to mention lying awake the night before) I’d been mulling over what a job like this would mean. Primarily, it came down to finance. We would be much better off; we could afford with ease things we currently scrimp and save for. I suspect it would mean somewhat longer hours, but then my summer season hours can be stupidly long anyway, and time away from home ~ well, I do up to a week away each month as it is. But it was the money that it all came back to. We could buy a new conservatory; a new kitchen, bathroom and get fitted wardrobes in the bedrooms and all without the usual, “I’m gonna have to sell my third kidney for this!” rigmarole.

I then mulled over what it might mean for my writing. At the moment, even when I am busy with one or other of my jobs, I still write, and usually every day. I can’t not write. But that said, having the mental energy to write fiction, and be creative and exciting with words, well, that may well be something that doesn’t mix so readily with a full time job that involves a lot of travel. I have said it before, but the pool of inner life from which creativity spills out is a finite thing, and using up that inner life solving work problems is possibly a little death to novelists.

I gave some thought to my health and as usual, thought, “Oh I’ll cope.” But that’s what I always do. I got into a mental spiral about whether my doubts were because I might be venturing out of my comfort zone or whether those concerns were valid.

In the end, I returned to the decision to do the interview and if I get it, accept the job. The extra money would be very nice. I was already picturing myself with a nice glass of rosé wine sitting watching the sun go down in my lovely new conservatory when I got a call saying the interview was cancelled.

To cut a long story short, the interview was rescheduled for a time I cannot possibly get to the location and so, all the bricks for my castle in the air are on their way back now to the dream-builder’s merchants and the blueprints are rolled up at the back of my mind, and the project shelved indefinitely. I got back on the next train home and was shocked at how relieved I felt. I did wonder if I’d feel as if I had lost something but I don’t. I hadn’t confused daydreams with any sort of concrete reality; the future I had been picturing had held no real substance for me.

I guess that’s the key to staying grounded when things are moving so fast your head whirls with it: simply remember that castles in the air are fun as long as you don’t plan to collect the rent from them!