I’m tired. Too tired to play with you. Entertain yourself. I’m too tired to think, let alone write. Life is exhausting. Life is killing me. Dream up your own blog, yours will surely be better than this desperate jumble of vaguely writing related rants.
Listen, don’t read my blog. Look at the hedgerows and the trees. See the sun sparkle on the sea. Listen to a blackbird, or a thrush, or whatever little brown bird it is making all that noise. Smell the newly mown grass, the honeysuckle, the coffee, the roads melting.
Still with me? Oh, fair enough. Here goes then.
I finished the first draft of my next novel back in March, I put it away knowing I was close to getting it right, but too overwhelmed by work and life to sort it out. I put it away and forgot about it. It was nice, the feeling that it was there, simmering, my new book, so I could get on with real life, and specifically my day job.
My day job squeezes every cell of creativity. I’m a headteacher. I spend more and more of my working day fulfilling daft bureaucratic obligations, ticking boxes, writing policies no one will ever read. On those days when I feel completely strangled by the idiocy of ministerial initiatives, when nothing makes any sense, when I have to meet with parents whose children are struggling to read and I have explain that progress might be slow and it won’t be easy, and I have to be careful with each and every word, and, at the same time, thinking of the mountain of irrelevant stuff that I’ll have to sift through before I can go home, then the thought that my book is sitting at home, the world I’ve created, waiting for me to rediscover it, this, more than anything else, keeps me going. When the summer holiday comes, I say, then I shall rediscover my book, then I shall find my book.
And so it’s the summer. Here I am ready to open the file, start work again. Except I’m still too tired, too angry, too twisted up. The residue of the day job lingers like the smell of dead fish. I need the day job, I need the money, I can’t quit. And I have children on the verge of leaving home, they’re ready to go but can’t quite make the leap. I want them to go, I need them to go, they should go, but they won’t. They eat everything, they use up all the electricity and bandwidth, all my patience, they fill the house with their noise, their quirky slang and their discarded snack food packaging. I love my children, I will miss them, but I want to get on, I want to write my book.
Yes, it’s the summer, so I can write! No. You’re wrong. It’s the summer and we must enjoy ourselves. We must be seen to be enjoying ourselves. When I remonstrate that we don’t need to do these things, that all I want to do is curl up with a good book – my book – the children tell me I’m miserable or boring or some such other lazy adjective.
So we zoom to a cottage by the sea. We swim, surf, paddle, kayak, eat outside, visit a dismal local attraction, see a film, laugh at panting dogs, run up and down cliff paths, get sunburnt, make seaweed wigs, spot a celebrity, guzzle Cornettos and finally, when we’ve had our fill, and there is no more work, or fun, to be done, and the children are sated and silent, and the house sleeps, then, perhaps then, I will tiptoe downstairs and be where I want to be, writing my book.