Saturday, 3 October 2009
The Bint in the Bathroom - Anne Rooney
Is the pram in the hallway really the enemy of creativity? Or is it the bint in the bathroom? A small baby can be worked around, to a degree. I sat at the computer with Big Bint (then very small) strapped to my chest and typed. As they get bigger, it gets harder. The Spacehopper in the Study is a tricky stage, fraught with breakages and tears on both sides. But they go to school all day, and some time is freed up for work. And then they hit binthood and the whole edifice comes crashing down.
Those sacroscanct writing hours in the middle of the day - how did they get eaten up with driving forgotten homework to school, delaying the library visit to wait for eBay purchases of 'vintage' clothing identical to items I threw away in the 1980s, and kicking random sleepover boys off the computer at 10am? Then there are the long sessions of counselling the swarms of friends, the Oxbridge coaching of the brighter ones, the sourcing of eyeliners and of obscure dietary requirements... Yes, it drains writing time and emotional energy - and I wouldn't change it for the world. Yet change it will.
Big Bint is just finishing that strange limbo of the post-A level summer, and as the leaves fall, she leaves, off to start a new life in the Other Place as it's known in this city. It's a time to stop and reflect, as she stands poised on the doorstep. No, they have not hampered creativity. They have taken time and imaginative energy, but they have nourished creativity. They have brought a wonderful richness, both in themselves and their friends. Yesterday I gave a book to one of Big Bint's closest friends. It was a story I'd dedicated to him because he was the inspiration for the distinctive trait of one of the characters. He's generally a non-reader but he sat and read it and then said 'I like this book'. And that's what it's all about, isn't it? These beautiful bints (that's Small Bint above, binting herself up in the bathroom) have brought me all their wonderful young people and the wealth of their lives and experiences. I'm afraid I may have taken gold and spun it into straw.
Must go now - Big Bint and boyfriend need waking, and Small Bint is bringing eight bints and bint-boys to camp in the field tonight, and needs picnic hamper retrieved from behind a wasp nest in the big shed, and needs to go to town to buy a dress, and... it's all gold.