Posts Tagged ‘children’

From busy to busier

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Well as the title says I am run off my feet here. I’m not sure how those of you who have been working twenty years plus manage it at all; on current form I’m not sure I’ll be able to manage twenty days. I feel like the proverbial dog chasing its own tail; no matter how hard you try, you’re not going to make it. Of course I will make it and probably sooner than I think, I am wading through my list gradually. That is a point actually, it would help if I had a list. But I don’t. I just hold all the relevant details in my head and constantly go over them to check that there’s nothing I’ve forgotten, which leads to unnecessary stress. But by the time I’ve deliberated whether I should handwrite or type a list, and if handwrite then in which notebook I’m most likely to remember to check and update it, it seems more productive just to get on with doing the tasks I’m procrastinating about writing down. You see? I make things unnecessarily difficult.

The invitations for my book launch have been consuming a lot of my time over the last few days. It’s very important to get them right, and I know this. They will be going out to Very Important People and it’s vital that they convey the right image. I want them to say: good book and Bright Young Thing basically. Not quite in the Evelyn Waugh/Stephen Fry way, I can’t have alcohol and scandal tarnishing my reputation, but similar. Ish. And I won’t be able to call myself ‘young’ for much longer, so I’d better do it while I can. Anyway, a friend of mine alerted me to the idea that people will perceive me in a certain way (before that I’d thought they would concentrate on the book) by commenting on my intended outfit for the book launch. “So,” he said, “you’re going for the young, sexy, author look are you?” I must be honest – until that point I hadn’t even been aware that such a thing existed. I certainly haven’t seen it as a fancy dress option anywhere before. But that aside, it was vital that I spent time making sure that my invitations were right. I want them to be classy, clear and – well – inviting. And I started off with all good intentions but then when I was in the offices of the printing place and being offered lots of different designs and choices – most of which I didn’t understand because they related to the size and thickness of the card used – frankly it sounded as though the proprietor were speaking in code. And I felt my attention begin to slip away onto more interesting things. I’d drag it back and focus and before I knew it, it was sliding away again and taking my eyes with it. Luckily the appointment ended fairly soon after that with the promise of a proof image via email within the hour. It arrived and I deliberated over it for a lot of hours – without actually managing to appraise it effectively at all. The sensible part of me (0.4%) knew that I should spend time making sure it was perfect, but the rest (can’t do maths) was screaming ‘it’s fine, just say yes’. But I didn’t! I listened to sense, and also someone else, and forced myself to make sure it was as perfect as it could be before I gave the go-ahead to print them. Just to clarify: it isn’t laziness/disinterest that prevents me from taking a proper interest in things, it’s the fact that I have So Much Stuff to focus on at the moment I feel guilty for prioritising one thing. It’s like trying not to favour a child, except inanimate objects really don’t listen to reason. So my mind flicks back and forth continually with other thoughts crowding out the one I’m actually trying to progress….. If anyone says a book release is easy, they are lying.

However, my eldest daughter went back to school yesterday, and my younger one went today.  Which should, in theory, give me a lot more free time in which to be productive. Yesterday it didn’t work out like that, I got sidetracked by a coffee morning and conversations. This is more important than it sounds because my new manuscript is largely reliant on these conversations – they will be its lifeblood if I get the stuff I’m looking for. To give you an example I heard one such conversation today – it was a serious conversation – and it ran like this (between two American women):

A:“You know, I’m so used to my kids being the only white-blondes around that I struggle to identify them here. I used to say ‘there’s mine’ and now I’m like ‘oh – I’m not so sure’”.

B: “I totally know what you mean, it was like that when we lived in Japan. It was easy finding my kids because they were the whitest ones there.”

A: “Guess it’s going to be more difficult here, huh?”

B: “Totally.”

For those not in the know, this not a normal school-gate conversation. Not a lot of people have previously lived in Japan, but even less rely on their children’s hair and skin colour to identify them in a crowd. I have no problems identifying my eldest daughter at the moment however, she’ll be the child scratching her head. Oh yes, the Nits Are Back. I discovered this at bedtime the night before school started – nightmare. But the nits paid for it. After I combed them all out onto kitchen paper we lit a little nit bonfire outside and I was immensely satisfied to watch them burn. Hideous things.

So to re-cap: I am very busy and also quite stressed. This is a new emotion to me, nothing has ever stressed me before; GCSEs, A-Levels, Uni, childbirth, motherhood….I’ve been quite relaxed about it all. But not this and I don’t know why. I suppose it might have something to do with finally achieving a really important goal and wanting to make sure that everything goes to plan…..but let’s just say that my stress-relievers are definitely in demand at the moment. And they go by the names of Chablis, Sancerre, Meursault, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. This last is a wine and not a child, just to be clear. I don’t know if you’ve met them? But yesterday I found myself in an alcohol-free house! This was purely by accident I hasten to add. Mere oversight by my stressed and tired brain. My in-laws live nearby (who am I kidding? They live next door) and I considered crawling round there and begging for a bottle of wine, but this is NOT a good look and my pride prevented me. I decided to root through the kitchen cupboards for the meths instead. Clearly I am verging on true bona fide, alcoholic, scandalous, Bright Young Thing territory.