Well, Dear Reader, over the last ten days, I haven’t written a word.
‘A writer must write something every day,’ I hear you reply, wagging your finger.
Maybe, maybe. But, DR, I didn’t have time. Honestly.
‘A proper writer would make the time,’ you add… No, sorry, you say. You never use any other words for dialogue, do you?
But let’s get back to the main issue, which is about when I’m supposed to ‘make the time’. I have to do the day job – twenty three hours of teaching per week. And, DR, before you say that’s not very much, just try it, and don’t forget to include all the pastoral stuff (ringing absent students and talking to their mummies), waste-of-time staff meetings and ‘mandatory’ staff development about filling in more and more online forms. You may wonder when I get a moment to prepare classes and do marking – so do I.
‘It’s that rewrite of that Christian story which is worrying you, isn’t it?’
Well, actually, yes. I really haven’t got a proper handle on it yet. I keep jotting down notes, but I have been too busy to even think about it right now. This is how I’ve spent the last ten days:
- The weekend before last, we visited pregnant daughter who will give birth the week after next. Do I regret the time I spent with her? Emphatically, no.
- Tuesday of last week, son returned from prolonged ‘working and travelling’ bout, taking in Germany, Spain and Turkey. He was with us from Tuesday to Saturday. Do I regret the evenings I spent talking to him. If I’d have taken myself off to write on Wednesday and Thursday (when husband was out), he wouldn’t have objected, but I wouldn’t have had that precious time with him… before he went off to London to work (where he is now) and then on to Ecuador in two weeks time.
- On Friday evening, I cleaned my house… I know what you’re going to say, DR. I used to read Cosmopolitan when I was younger. I should sit around in the dirt and write beautiful prose. Quentin Crisp reckoned the dust didn’t get any worse after four years, but, in case you didn’t realise, he was a man. Men don’t worry about such things. I actually like my house to be clean. Then after finishing the cleaning, we all went out to the local tandoori – our weekly treat, which I wouldn’t miss for anything.
- On Saturday morning I marked students’ work. On Saturday afternoon I marked students’ work too. Did I regret having to do that? Yes, A LOT.
- This morning, I went to church. Husband suggested I should skip it, but that’s not the right way to go about things.
This lunchtime and afternoon, I was so tired I could hardly think. I feel a bit better now, but tomorrow another week starts. So, DR, you see how it is. Jeff Goins, in one of his posts, said (I paraphrase) that writers, rather than hiding themselves away, should take part in life, as otherwise they have nothing to write about. I have no alternative, but I see his point. For me, this is not a good time for writing, and I believe that I should stop beating myself up about it.
Meanwhile, here’s a howler from one of my students, writing about ‘factors affecting web performance’. When other people in my hose are on the computer, I can’t get on to the internet. He can water my tomato plants any time!
And, finally, we have a lot of problems at college with students refusing to be parted from their mobile phones. It’s even affected my cat, as you can see: