Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Losing the plot - N M Browne


I may have lost the plot. It makes me laugh when people say women are good at multi tasking because if that were the chief qualification – put me down for one of those extension thingies they are always offering me online because I am obviously a bloke.
I have been teaching this term – two courses I’ve never taught before which I’ve had to write. Neither on their own should have posed too much of a problem, but then I’ve been writing a new book and I’m supposed to be proof reading another and I can only do one thing at once. No really. I can keep one book in my head at a time and when I read another one I lose the one that was in my head and have to read that again. There is a certain amount of tail chasing going on. I am quite efficient just as long as I don’t have to do two things at once and then I flit between tasks like a demented butterfly - with ADHD and achieve nothing.

I think this is a very bad character trait for an author and I am hugely envious of writers with more processing capacity. If only I could upgrade, download that extra bit of programming that would allow me to leave windows open in my brain. Sadly, I leave a window open in my brain and everything escapes out of it: ideas, to do lists, plots, the whereabouts of my glasses, all find some virtual sheets to tie together and escape into the wild waste land of my subconscious where they will probably live quite happily, undisturbed for the rest of my natural life.

I haven’t mentioned what all this has done to the state of my office and desk. I can’t find anything. There are books heaped everywhere, papers piled high, an extensive range of grubby coffee cups and at least two broken mobile phones all adding to my growing guilt at my appalling housekeeping. I just found a pair of earrings, a board rubber and an oyster card while searching for a functioning pen.

I am hoping to get organised – ooh very soon. If I treat my desk as some kind of archaeological dig maybe I will uncover the long lost plot. I can only hope a little bit of judicious dusting will unearth hidden treasures, restore order and decency. I am getting a tad desperate because Christmas is coming and, as we all know, that’s a whole new story...

4 comments:

Lucy Coats said...

Nicky--this made me howl with laughter as I recognised bits of myself here (the grubby desk, certainly--mine is like a secondhand bookshop with unexpected bits of junk shop lurking within it). I had thought of myself as a multitasker, but now I realise that I too flit from one project to the next--and I have to get my head into the 'right' space before I can start again. Perhaps I too am a bloke in disguise....

Nick Green said...

It's a myth that blokes can't multi-task. We allow it perpetuate. The truth is, we can do any number of things at once, provided none of them is listening to our partner asking us to do something other than what we're doing at that moment... :-)

The Ginger Darlings said...

I have a very small dried newt on my desk. I found it one day when I was hoovering, a rare thing, and I show it to people who come into my studio. "look," I say " I have newts in my house". I smile. I like my newt. But they back away and say that they do not have newts in their houses, and how unusual.
I have other things on my desk, like a curlews skull and a small hare made of copper, a dragon in an egg and some paints.
I can sometimes look at them all at once and think about something else. Does that count as multi-tasking?
Tell Oscar I am working on another book with James Mayhew. Hope he likes it.
Love from Jackie and the Gingercats

Anne Rooney said...

Oh, that is so like my desk/brain, Nick. I love the image of all your escaped thoughts living in the wilderness. I think the wilderness has probably grown through the windows in my brain... Jackie (who I don't know, who is working with James Mayhew, who I do know) - I have a flamingo's wishbone, but a curlew's skull sounds cool :-) We could build a frankensteinian bird...