A Certain Confusion

Thoughts of a writer of sorts

Month: November, 2010

From Jesus to Music

Another lot of discreet definitions have been uploaded to my Discreet Dictionary, bringing me to the halfway point in terms of letters. The highlight might well be the first definition of mermaid, taken from an instructional manual on how to read tea leaves.

A mermaid in the clear denotes that it will require a strong will to resist the temptations of a flirt.

First, what are the chances of tea leaves forming a pattern that anyone could interpret as a mermaid? And second, see ‘first’.

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Tra la la

Oh dear. Well my intention was to post something every day this week, based on stuff I’ve been collecting and reflecting on in the months since my ‘regular’ blogging ended way back in May. But this has not happened.

I haven’t been feeling so well in myself – cough, headaches, nausea, occasionally aching bones. It could all be psychosomatic manifestations of the stress associated with looking after Edie so much this week, but that doesn’t feel quite right. And I haven’t been at work, and neither am I particularly worried by anything at work. A more likely potential source of this stress, however, is my perennial disfavourite: the stress of my own expectations. By thinking this week was going to be a watershed in my writing productivity, perhaps I have shot myself in the foot, or overegged the pudding or some other suitably self-defeating metaphor.

There are two things I am in the middle of (long term) that do not require much effort but add up to something relatively meaningful: the translating of Bachelard (which will take me years but I’m not in any rush) and the uploading of my Discreet Dictionary (I have reached I, but have yet to find myself (fnah, fnah)). I will endeavour to do just those two things between Thursday and Monday – well, those and a bit of hoovering and ironing (oh, the glamour!).

If my cunning plan works, in as much as by jettisoning everything else my own psychological burdens become that much lighter to the extent that I am able to relax and do some extra stuff, then that will be a bonus.

It is not all doom and gloom: Edie is a delight and massively entertaining. It is lovely to spend a bit more time with her – but I will be sooooo glad when Sophie gets back!!

1 November

Sophie is on a business trip in Italy, which means I get to experience the thrills and spills of being a (temporary) unemployed, stay-at-home single father (aka “writer”) for a week – ‘unemployed’ because I have taken the week off work to ensure a chance of getting through it in one piece.

So far, so good. Edie was at nursery all day, and having seen Sophie off at Victoria station, I had a very nice afternoon drinking tea, doing the New York Times Sunday crossword (#104 in the Omnibus, volume eight) with Radio 3 in the background and the steely winter sun shining in through the window.

The clocks having gone back yesterday, it was dark all too soon, and especially so by 5 when I went off to collect Edie from nursery. Mind you, I am a big fan of Greenwich Mean Time and think it is bizarre that we attempt to change Time rather than the times at which we schedule our appointments. It makes me think of a definition from my Discreet Dictionary (albeit one that I don’t think I have yet uploaded – there’s a mini-project for my week off) about how science is essentially an attempt to stop the world in time, study it, fix it if necessary and then start it all going again. Obviously this is doomed. I used to think that economics was the kind of study that attempted to fix the world in a moving, dynamic state but given the events of recent years, I’m not so sure of that theory any more.

Edie is with me all day tomorrow, but then I have three clear days to indulge myself. And while I have just this minute booked a ticket to see The Social Network, I do intend to spend the majority of those three days on my writing projects. These currently consist of (at least) the following:

  • Selecting from 3 or 4 ideas one to develop into a short story intended for the back page of Nature magazine;
  • Continuing to slowly translate La psychanalyse du feu by Gaston Bachelard into English;
  • Planning the novel of which I have written the first chapter already without having any idea what it is about or where it is heading;
  • Writing a play about ghosts (this may not be an entirely original concept, but I think there are interesting angles to explore).

Wish me luck!