Thursday, September 9, 2021


Sept 27th

So, there I was, fingers poised, flexed, and ready for action.
A window of opportunity had just been flung wide open (a whole hour to myself) and I was ready to fill it with some choice words and plot progression.
At which point, that window slammed firmly shut.
M had just been woken with a call from the local Covid testing centre. 
He needed another Covid test.
Although M had been given a Covid test only a few days ago, the appointment at the eye hospital had since been rescheduled and a second test was necessary.
After close inspection (on our previous visit), it seems that one of the stitches holding his new cornea in place was loose and needs tightening. 
We're back up to Bristol on Thursday.
How does this involve me? Well, the test centre is three miles away and I need to ferry M there and back.
The test was swiftly undertaken, we were back within half an hour. 
So, there was still time (not much, a quarter of an hour maybe) but I figured that even if I only managed to type up a couple of sentences, those two sentences might be really brilliant.
However, I'm hardly through the door when my mobile rings.
The first call was from an unknown source asking me if I wished to discuss my funeral arrangement. We could talk costs and preferences, silk-lined mahogany coffin, cardboard or wicker? burial or cremation? Economy or deluxe, flowers or weeds?
Second call...
It's Diedrie (not her real name, I haven't known a Deidrie since I was at junior school, Diedrie was my best friend, and I wish I knew where she was now).
Anyway, Diedrie wants to talk, divorce.
This time, truly, no kidding, no second chances, really, for real, going to divorce the miserable bastard who's ruined, what could have been, best years of her life.
I know, a messy sentence, but it's messy.
This might have been breaking news had I not already heard it all many times before (on an annual basis, since the year 1990).
The minutes of this one-way conversation turned to hours.
Who might get what and how, it could probably all be worked out amicably (Ha!Ha!). 
Anyway, as I've said, deja vu.
So, when I finally invented an excuse to end the call (feeling guilty that I'd deprived Diedrie of at least another hour discussing how she intended to cut the marital cord), the window of writing opportunity was so tightly shut, I was left gasping for air.
Despairing, that's how I feel.
Last night I actually had a dream that I was massively depressed. 
Honestly, yes, a dream about being depressed.
It was so good to wake up and realise that the dream was just that.
I wasn't back in my early twenties.
I wasn't self-harming and just hoping that someone might realise I needed an intervention.
What a dark and sad time it had been.
Over the years, I've dipped in and out of depression, but that was my first... and you never forget your first.
Back in the day, people didn't talk openly about mental health. The subject was extremely unfashionable and truly taboo. 
I recall, a year after that hugely oppressive cloud lifted I found myself, by chance, watching a morning television programme in which a young man talked candidly about depression and how he had felt during his lowest ebb. 
Suddenly I didn't feel so alone.
I completely identified with this young man and everything he said.
What helps me now? Writing.
To be fully emersed in your writing is such a joy, you're inventing new people with their own lives and stories, and while you're tapping away at the keyboard, you're right there with them, somewhere else.
I don't know why this post has spiralled off in this direction.
I really liked a quote in an article I recently read.
It was something said in answer to a question.
Amy Winehouse was asked what she feared most.
She'd replied...
Me, that's what I fear most.
I get that.
I'm glad it's Autumn. I love Autumn. Summers are too loud and noisy.

P.S. While I was writing this journal entry, my husband kept nudging me in the hope that I would stop what I was doing and pay attention to Richard Osman's House of Games.
No, there isn't a spare room or a study.
By the way, The Thursday Murder Club was puerile rubbish. I gave up after chapter 5.
I've finished reading Zadie Smith's novel, On Beauty and it was as good as its excellent reviews.

Sept 14th

I'm beginning to realise that the only way I might grab any quality writing time will be to rent a static caravan somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
I can't salvage a clear two hours out of any day at the moment.
Family matters, that's one. 
The feud (as mentioned in previous posts), has been raging without any real sign of a breakthrough for a couple of months now. There's a stubborn old mule on one side of the fence and a deeply wounded donkey on the other.
Both have become unremittingly stuck in their own emotionally-charged fields with no sign of a clear exit.
I'm strategically and geographically placed to be the ideal go-between.
My role over the last few months has been to relay to each party how much the other party is hurting, in the hope that each party might want the other party to stop hurting and suggest a feasible way out.
Things have been said which can't be unsaid. 
So, what to do?
The only way out, as far as I can see, is to place a virtual black box on the table, and in that box, place all the grievances and accusations that so recently raised their ugly heads above the parapet. 
That Pandora's box must then remain tightly shut for all eternity.
With a telephone call scheduled for 1.00pm today, all hinged on the mule and donkey mutually embracing the big black box idea.
They would agree to disagree about all that had been said that would have been better off left unsaid and move on.
Unfortunately, the old mule in this tiresome drama had either deliberately (very likely) or innocently (not very likely) left their telephone off the hook.
(No, they don't have a mobile, we're talking dated technology here. A big lumpy phone with a cord and everything).
As the old mules stable is just up the road from me, I had to march up that well-worn road, kick open the stable gate, and ensure that the stubborn old fool conversed with the donkey.
She recognised the fire behind my eyes and complied.
Yes, it was worth it. The donkey just texted me to say that a treaty had been sealed and the lid of, said box, nailed down like a coffin... and as we'll all be in that particular box one day, the less time wasted festering on past grievances, the better.
A secondary factor responsible for my lack of literal productivity can be blamed on no one but moi.
I recently downloaded a language learning app to my iPhone.
It's called Duolingo.
I've always wanted to be bilingual, with French as my second language of choice.
Not sure.
I don't have a villa in France, I can't afford a trip to France, I don't have any French friends or a French Poodle.
Over many, many years of cerebral struggle, I've learned to parle un petit Francais. 
What I CAN'T do, is understand any french unless it is spoken tres lentement.
I watch French films and dramas (with subtitles) and eavesdrop on random French nationals wandering the street in the hope that I might instantly comprehend their conversation, but no, they simply talk, trop vite!
Back to Duolingo, I've become obsessed. 
It's a very well designed and addictive app.
I tap on the silly green bird icon and find myself transfixed on reaching the next level of achievement. Minutes become hours. I've fallen down the rabbit hole and can't crawl back out of it.
So, take heed, don't go there. Hang on to the one language you have and win that literary prize instead.

Other news...
Fibromyalgia... yes, but medically under control.
Alopecia... yes, and still taking the oil of primrose.
Mood.... wavering.
Also, I've found an old memory stick that may contain the forty-five thousand words of a novel I accidentally deleted a year ago.
I will let you know.

UPDATE The old memory stick did not contain the lost novel (of which the world will now be forever deprived... there goes my Booker), no, it contained two sleep hypnosis tracks, c'est tout.

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