a morning

Tea, in bed. Who could wish for more? One of us usually has to get up earlier than the other so the rule is, Up first, you make the tea. Himself often gets up at 5.45am to go for a run, then back to do kungfu training in the garden and then make tea. Over the winter, this has lapsed a little. Weather has been severely unkind and so running has been sporadic.

Today, the sun shines. I drink tea, go and turn on my pc, still nightclad and towsled. I need to see my emails, check the blog, almost before I wake.  The cats mumble around us, wanting cuddles before settling down in the ruins of our rumpled duvet. I seldom get a chance to make the bed before they’re asleep and inviolate.

The dog emerges, looking sheepish and slightly embarrassed like a party guest who has woken to find they have outslept their host and the cunning plan to slip away unremarked has failed. I don’t know why she looks like this, but she does.

We drink coffee in my study. The study is the tiny third bedroom, that serves as occasional guest room. You have to like books and not feel oppressed by the sheer weight of them on every wall to sleep well in this room. We discuss the day, laugh and then bid farewell as his lift to work arrives.

I head for the shower, and emerge a few minutes later, hair in a towel and get dressed. I can dress casual today as I am just supervising sports this afternoon and not teaching. Jeans, then, t-shirt that looks vaguely French. It’s the blue and white stripes, I guess; all I need is a beret and a string of onions.

Now downstairs. The living room smells of jasmine from the flowering plant that opens starry blooms and pours out sensual sweetness. I let the dog out and pause. I light a little incense with my brief blind morning prayer that is without words and wait for the dog to scratch to come in again.

    I need a stamp; there’s a letter to post. I trip out to the row of shops a few dozen yards from my front door, hair dripping and no mascara yet. The locals know me, I don’t have to pretend. I buy a stamp, post the letter and the odour from the baker’s shop lures me in to buy. He’s a clever chap, our baker; he gives me samples of new cakes he’s devised or is experimenting with and asks my opinion. I buy cake to go with my second coffee.

Home:  the dog wants her breakfast. I feed her while I make more coffee and take my cofee and cake upstairs to the computer. The cake is still sitting on the top of my printer, waiting for me to eat it. I chose farmhouse fruit cake, kidding myself it’s at least got fruit in.  

I’m procrastinating, I know this. I’m putting off the moment when I open my documents and begin from where I made myself stop last night. I made a decision late last night to stop writing and go to bed. I knew there was a point where if I continued to write, I simply would not sleep at all and at about 11.15, I wasn’t sure if I had passed that point. I promised my husband that I would get up and start again if I stayed awake past a certin point. I fell asleep about an hour after I went to bed.

When I am like this, I exclude everything around me. I don’t hear things or notice anything in the house. I do the basic tasks at the core of running a home and I do them in automatic pilot. When I have finished a book,  whether it takes three weeks or three months, I wake up from the dream I have been dipping in and out of and see what I have not done. I am lucky, in many ways because my family seem to take up the slack and do the vital tasks that I tune out, like feed the animals and water plants, but the finer things, like tidying and dusting…well, no.

I come home to Briar Rose’s castle at least in my mind; hung with cobwebs and with ivy sneaking through window panes and the mice playing on the hearth, made fearless by my absence. It’s only my guilt that notices the things I didn’t do. Many I don’t do anyway. I gave up ironing years ago as it is such a waste of time and energy.

I put off the final moment when I sit and return to what I enjoy best, because I am so scared that one day I will start and I won’t be able to stop when external reality calls for me to stop. I tell myself I am honing my ability to multi-task, to compartmentalise. I’m not. I’m deferring becoming enslaved to my addiction. 

Time to eat that cake. The coffee has gone cold.

Procrastinator extraordinaire

…that’s me!

I’m back at work this week, from tomorrow and I can’t face doing any of the things I need to be doing right now. Some are hanging over me from weeks(or months) back and are getting more urgent. I have scary form for the Department of Work and Pensions to fill in and despite being educated and articulate, I find forms so scary. I inched one step closer to dealing with it today by locating the file that contains the information I need to fill the form in. That’s due by the end of this month. I may make it.

I’ve also got phone calls to make regarding getting an allotment to put our bees on; again scared to do that. I really don’t enjoy talking to strangers over the phone about something I know may be a little complicated. And they may say NO even though we have a legal right to have bees on an allotment…

I need to pick up the dog’s medication from the vets at some point today; there was fresh blood in her water bowl this morning again. I’m not sure if I ought to get her more anti-biotics too. There are two receptionists; one is very good and the other reminds me of a Macdonald’s thick-shake : sweet, but too thick to be good for anything. If I get the good one, I am happy that the meds I get given are what Holly is supposed to have….The other receptionist usually tries to put my credit card in the wrong way. ‘Nuff said.

I’ve got household chores(including last night’s dishes) to do.

I have a stack of new notes for London to download and print out so I can read them thoroughly before Saturday. I have my notes for Paris later this month I need to read through and memorise, not to mention the itinerary. I have also 4 hours of teaching to prepare for, for tomorrow. I also have the same for the rest of the week but that has to wait until I get a handle on my students. There’s not point in planning a week of teaching till I meet them; I’ve made that mistake before and it sucks. I end up with a week of lessons I can’t use.

I’ve also got to locate my swimming costume, plus leggings, t-shirt and old trainers for this dip in the environmental tank. I’m so not sure of this activity; my boss says it’s meant as a fun one but I need to be convinced.

To get a lesson sorted for tomorrow means domestic archaeology. Apart from one rather pointless morning last month, I haven’t taught since September and all my files were decently buried under my desk, in no special order and I need to get them all out and have a look at what I can use that is adaptable enough to cover almost every possibilty for this group. This could result in a papering of the floor of my study. I also need to dig out some decent work clothes and make sure they are presentable; I’ve been living in jeans now for months, and polar fleece jumpers. I’ll also have to figure out how to tame my hair enough so they don’t think I am the wild woman of Borneo.

What I really want to do is quite different. And it frustrates me because I have had months of emptiness where few words came and where my head resounded to echoes of old stories but nothing new was being born. I had months of doing nothing outside the home(or very little) where I could have spent every day bashing out stories on the pc. It choses now to return to me when it’s not just a matter of carving out time from a busier daily schedule but a more vital one of how my spirit metamorphoses into something quite different from my easygoing and kind persona into something harder edged and slightly dangerous(I say slightly; I can’t guarantee this as it hasn’t been fully tested) that lives with more than half its consciousness in other worlds. I have a foot there at most times but when I am really writing, more of me is absent than is present.

I began a new novel a few days ago and though I haven’t a clue where its going yet, the feeling is it’s actually going somewhere and I’ve been able to exceed my daily target of words and that hasn’t happened for a long while. I’ve got two others on the go but with each of them it’s been like pulling nails from a packing case using my teeth: hard work and not a lot to show for it. I get a feeling that the unlocking of the new novel is triggering and unblocking of the others.

Why, when I had all winter with nothing much to do, does this happen now, when I know I will have less time for it? Not only that, the person I become when I write really takes no prisoners, takes much less s*** and is generally not such a nice person.

edit: I got down to the kitchen to start the dishes to find my wonderful husband had already done them, despite the fact that he cooked last night. One less thing to worry about!

Have I procrastinated myself into a real corner here?