I have been trying to write this column about procrastination for the last two hours but every time I’m almost ready to type, something crops up. First it was the last slice of Victoria Sponge that I knew I hadn’t wrapped up properly. I went and ate that to save on cling film. Then it was that picture that wasn’t straight that had been bugging me for ages. I made that worse. Then it was all that sitting I had to do. That was quite pressing. I did the sitting, and the picture, and the cake, and then some other stuff I can’t even remember now, and my column still stared at me, its empty landscape judging me. Even when my editor emailed to tell me to pull my finger out, I went to water my peace lily first in case it got thirsty while I was writing.
And now I’m writing. Hullo.
Normally the writing of my column is one of the best parts of my week. I like the focus it gives my mind; it’s a moment of clarity no matter how busy I am. But today, I don’t mind telling you my brain is a little frazzled, even though I’m sat here, still and quiet, primed to write.
I suspected I might be a bit frazzled the other day when I got into my best friend’s car, settled myself and my bags in the seat, turned to say hello to her, and burst into tears. She looked quite alarmed. I composed myself enough to tell her that I was okay, perfectly happy, but just overwhelmed by how much stuff there was going on.
She didn’t look very convinced, so I reeled off a list of things to fill her in and to assure her that I was ok and just had just had a little blip, probably because she smelled nice and had a kind face. I made the following amount of sense:
“I’m fine, wench, honest. (Snort.) It’s just been (sniff) one of those mornings. (Sudden ascent into a pitch for dogs.) I was trying to (an Alsatian barks at the car window) and then (mutter into sleeve) and it wasn’t even like I (wipe away mascara streaks) so that’s all really, (breathe) and I’m fine now. Let’s go. Sorry.”
The sensical essence of which was this: I am writing a book about my Dad. He died ten years ago this month. The book is very hard to do but if I don’t finish it I will be really cross at myself forever. I think I am very nearly done. I have probably deleted as many words as I have written, and I’m currently on 84 thousand. It’s taken a while to get right. It feels like the only thing I will ever be able to do to tell him that I love him. I am about to move out of the flat that my Dad bought years ago, have recently searched for and possibly found the AWOL freeholder that will make the sale possible, and the cutting of these ties is stirring up ghosts. I was recently contacted by a tracing company who think Dad might have left some money but won’t tell me anything yet, which feels odd to have occurred around the ten year anniversary, and odder because he always said there was money but never told us where and given the nature of his death we never had the strength to play detective. Junk mail in his name has recently turned up even though it never has before. And then when I got in my best friend’s car my Dad’s song ‘Wake Up Little Susie’ was playing. He seems to be everywhere, in everything – admin and nature – tying his own loose ends up and I have to let it happen. I have to move on.
None of this is bad stuff, as such. But all together it feels quite big. And the bigness of it all, the collected emotional mass of it all is making it hard to focus on individual things, like my column. Which I love doing, and now, by sharing all that with you, have done.
Sometimes things are just daunting, aren’t they. And it feels nice to share them with people, doesn’t it?