So it is of course flattering when people say they miss your blog, and inquire why you have not been writing it. “Is jy besig meisie?” Giulietta asked me before the Lions game the other day – the one even before they were so thrashed by the Cheetahs – to which I could barely reply before she continued with, “Jy moet ophou naai, dissie goed vir jou nie.” Well there you have it. The reason I have been lax in my duties to my body of writing work is my one-year-old relationship. Instead of practicing the penpersonship that is going to have to keep poverty from the door once I am too old and too nasty to employ in the company of (or with) other people, I while away my non-income-earning hours in love-soaked delirium. Not.
It is because I go excessively to gym, just in case my love’s interest may really start to wander in the direction of two lithe and uncomplicated twenty-one-year olds I often suggest he might want to replace me with at some point. Not.
No. If the real reason had to stand up, it would be the one on the left called guilt. I did not finish my masters last year like I should have, and have re-registered this year so that I can complete my research report and collect a degree. However, since I have registered I have not done much toward it. Initially I was quite confident that I would make the six-month August deadline that would get me half my money back. Now I am almost sure that I am only going to hand it in at the end of the year. But things have started moving along for various reasons.
Leslie wrote on Basecamp that the university could no longer carry unfinished post graduate degrees, and when we had breakfast to talk about it, I understood why. It’s not the more than 20 unfinished masters’ research reports that are the problem, but the lack of potential supervisors to to supervise the writing of said reports. I guess I get that. In response to her suggestion that I then “book my place” asap, I assured her that I am good to go, and can deliver something as early as next week. Now I have to sit down and actually write something, and I thought the blog would be a good place to start. Although it is not the research report itself, it is ABOUT the report, and it is more constructive than cleaning the house again.
And after all, it was Giulietta who suggested that I blog about the report. I think she might have wanted to say, “for fuck’s sakes, WRITE SOMETHING,” and this suggestion popped out of her mouth instead, but look what it has achieved. Something on paper. I feel pretty good.
I am beginning to notice that I my preoccupation with time is more than just the average, casual unease of a woman who has turned forty without making millions or marrying a millionaire. Being neither in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease nor peri-menopausal (that word is so new it does not even exist in my Office 2007 spell check) the panic that the minutes in the day inspire in me whenever I must make a decision on how to spend them is inexplicable. In the back of my mind there is something vastly more important and lucrative to do in any given moment, and I can never quite remember what it is.
The fact is that since I have given up working for a weekly fee to pitch my lot in with freelance writers and other poor people, the fiscal value of 60 seconds has acquired new meaning. And it is agonizing. I hardly start doing something without thinking that I should be doing something else. Except when I am working on my masters, which I will return to as soon as I have finished writing 700 words for no money whatsoever. I think of my masters as a weird form of punishment for resigning from a real job, and for the moment, not as something to improve my credit rating.
The past year has been one of both struggle and success.
I managed to get stories published without the editor in question being a member of my circle or friends or my alma mater, but learnt that it is impossible to actually make a living writing as a freelance journalist for websites, newspapers and magazines. You also have to do some copy editing, some teaching, and slide back into the odd TV job just to keep yourself in Crabtree and Evelyn body butter.
I discovered that the adult WASP male is unadventurous in bed and both surprised and ridiculously pleased when a woman doesn’t just lie there.
It is not a good thing when Friday inspires the kind of dread in you that is only matched by dreaming that you need to run away from terrible danger and you cannot feel your legs.
It is already after lunch, I am going for drinks at Giles at 4.30-ish, and I aim to squeeze in a session at the gym before I go (on account of the fact that I have become enormously fat since I turned 40 and alcohol consumption is simply one area of my diet where I cannot reduce my calorie intake because whisky makes me feel better than chocolate).
That leaves me 45 minutes in which to completely plan a two-day TV shoot next weekend, make a sizeable dent in the reading I have to do for my assignment due on the 9th, prepare for class next Thursday, write a blog and speak to Barbara about holding the fort while she goes away next week. Fortunately I read all the TV documentary treatments for the mentorship progamme this morning, or I really would have had a lot to do.
This is clearly ridiculous. What can anybody achieve in 45 minutes? Forty-five minutes cannot possibly claim to be AN ACTUAL amount of time, honestly. Nothing meaningful can be achieved in its duration. In fact, things you can do in 45 minutes should not make it into the history books and probably not even onto the list of things you will remember when you are old.
For example, it is barely enough time to have impromptu sex on the dining room table, if there was anybody around to have such sex with. I could call someone, but he is likely to promise to be “five.. six minutes”, and only arrive an hour later after continually swearing on the phone that he is “on his way” and “already in Parkhurst”.
I suspect that randomly available 45-minute instalments in the course of the average day is the reason why Continue reading →