Monday, March 29, 2010

Thumb twiddlin'

I don’t know what to be doin’ with meself (Hiberno-English for time on one’s hands).

The ghost-written project, on which I have spent the last three months of my life, finally toddled off to the editor over the week-end. I heaved a sigh of relief, hit send on my e-mail and then looked around at the rubbish-heap my home had become.

I heard Anne Enright speak once at a writers festival and someone asked her where she had found the time to write before she became well-established enough to go at it full-time.

‘I didn’t clean my oven,'she said.

I thought this admirable advice and took it to heart when I agreed to take on ‘His Name Is Rebecca’. I had to keep at the paid employment going – as my children refuse to stop eating- and felt obliged to do certain things like washing clothes, cooking meals and communicating with my offspring beyond a Neanderthal grunt.

And do ye know what?

The house didn’t fall down, the male personages with whom I share my living quarters didn’t notice the chaos and I got quite used to stepping over piles of discarded clothing, newspapers, books, musical instruments, misplaced trainers and sports equipment, coats etcetera etcetera.

Then when I finally lifted my eyes from the laptop on Saturday last I shrieked in dismay and felt like hibernating until June. Because now I had to do it all, three months worth of cleaning, hoovering, polishing, washing.

And do y'know what again?

I did it all in a couple of hours.

Now I’m wondering what in the name of all that’s unholy have I spent the last forty odd years of my life doing? From the recesses of memory I have dragged a poem about an old woman who spent her life moaning about all the work keeping a house entailed, about how she valiantly battled against all dirt dust and assorted detritus that living brings. Then ‘she lay down and died, and was buried in dirt’. I thought it was a Padraic O Conaire poem but can’t verify that. A prize to the person who can tell me who penned the poem.

And I won’t even be buried in dirt. I have left strict instructions to be burned in a grass coffin, ashes into a jamjar and then the ashes scattered from said jamjar from the One Man’s Pass on Sliabh Liag (panoramic view of same above). If all instructions are not followed I will come back to haunt them – and I always keep my word.

But then I got a great idea for a YA novel – well, I think it’s great. So I can happily stop doing housework and scribble away. I ain’t ready for the crematorium yet!

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