Back to fiction?

This makes me want to write fiction again, even though it actually comes from non-fiction. Or the pseudo-fiction section of a non-fiction essay…

If the opinions upon any of these matters had been chalked on the pavement, nobody would have stooped to read them. The nonchalance of the hurrying feet would have rubbed them out in half an hour. Here came an errand-boy; here a woman with a dog on a lead. The fascination of the London street is that no two people are ever alike; each seems bound on some private affair of his own. There were the business-like, with their little bags; there were the drifters rattling sticks upon area railings; there were affable characters to whom the streets serve for club-room, hailing men in carts and giving information withouth being asked for it. Also there were funerals to which mean, thus suddenly reminded of the passing of their own bodies, lifted their hats. And then a very distinguished gentlemean came slowly down a doorstep and paused to avoid a collision with a bustling lady who had, by some means or other, acquired a splended fur coat and a bunch of Parma violets. They all seemed separate, self-absorbed, on business of their own.

    ~ Virginia Woolf, ‘A Room of One’s Own’, page 94

People are so interesting.

Exhaustion

This week things have shifted. I’ve finally let go of some things, and some new opportunities have presented themselves. Work is beginning to pick up more and more, and I start back at uni again next week.

The change of pace, and the shifts in my thinking and doing have found me feeling lighter, and a little bit excited. I’ve found it difficult to sleep this week. As soon as my head hits the pillow, my mind is off, following all sorts of little paths and trails, guessing at how things might unfold now that I’ve thrown off some of the thought-stuff I didn’t need anymore. Each night this week I’ve lain awake for hours, imagining. Just like a child who can’t sleep because something exciting is happening the next day.

I’ve been aware of a lingering tiredness all week, but it hasn’t really bothered me until this afternoon’s yoga practice. I had lots of energy at the beginning, enough even to practice some fairly intense back-bends. Then I lay down in savasana to relax for a few minutes and was surrounded by exhaustion. My legs and arms tingled with it, my head felt suddenly much heavier. It was almost as if I’d just covered myself in a blanket of tiredness. ‘Surprise! You can’t really cope with very little sleep! Had you fooled, didn’t I?’

But this is part of the reason I love working the way I do (all over the place, and at weird hours, in other words): if I’m exhausted on a Friday afternoon, I can usually take it easy. There’s usually some work I can do that involves sitting on the couch with a cup of tea (and maybe a chocolate biscuit from a bout of procrastibaking earlier in the day). And I think I’m getting better at down time. I’m a really active person (hence the active job), and always have been. But I don’t think I’ve ever been particularly good at… well, resting. I guess many of us aren’t.

Next week will be extremely busy. I think an afternoon of reading and writing is justified. So excuse me while I put my feet up, munch on some baked goods, and get some quiet time.

~

This is cross-posted on my yoga blog, om gam yoga.

Lucky

Every now and then I realise just how lucky I am to be enjoying my days as much as I do. I’ll be honest: I’m poorer than I’ve ever been. But I can’t really complain because the work I’m doing is something I enjoy, and, more than that, I feel like it means something.

On top of that, because I do most of my work in the mornings and evenings, my days are slow, and usually see me pottering about the house cooking, writing, reading, researching.

Don’t get me wrong; I have regular moments of overwhelming fear or upset, when I wonder what on earth I’ve done (or how I’ll next pay rent). But when I find myself sitting down to a piece of toast and a cup of tea at four o’clock in the afternoon, or cooking myself a warm lunch, I can’t help but feel privileged to be able to live this way.

Today was one of those days. I had a productive day: I did a few loads of washing, I got my groceries done, I cleaned the bathroom, I cooked a couple of meals, I chatted to my brother on the phone for a couple of hours about life and thinking, and I did some yoga. Then it was dinner time. And now I’m doing some research for a class I’m teaching. My idea of a perfect Monday, really.

Follow your dreams, people. The obstacles along the way are well worth the struggle.

Slow Reading

I found this article through Mad Bibliophile today. Interesting reading. It relates to a lot of the other things I’ve been thinking about recently, so I’ll try to write something longer about it at some point. Time is something that’s on my mind a lot lately, given that I’ve now got more of it.

But for now I’m off to get ready for a dress-up party!

Novel Challenge update

Reading for the Novel Challenge has been an interesting experience for me. I’m not sure if I’m the only weird one, but I have this strange guilt complex about reading fiction, despite the fact that I enjoy it immensely. On top of the idiocy of feeling guilty about enjoying something, I’m a writer, and reading fiction is invaluable for my writing, both as inspiration and as some kind of subconscious learning. Yeah. I don’t get the guilt complex either. It’s stupid. Something to do with being an incredibly proactive person — the not-so-great flipside of which is that I’m very bad at relaxing.

Anyway. I’ve got a pretty good excuse to read fiction at the moment and it’s been really wonderful. I’ve spent a couple of Saturday mornings curled up in my favourite armchair, winter sun shining through the window, nose in a book. Sigh. Why don’t I let myself do this more often?

As well as the relaxation factor, I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed starting to pick apart what, exactly, it is that I enjoy (or otherwise) about what I’m reading. I’m getting a bit of extra practise at this at the moment, because I’m tutoring a year 12 student in English, and a lot of what we’re doing is recognising literary techniques and trying to understand what their function is in the text. In our last session we looked at a book I read recently, The Anatomy of Wings, and tried to pull apart a very small section of it, discussing what some of the techniques might be trying to achieve.

I find it very hard not to just point out all the techniques I can see, because I enjoy the process so much (not a great teaching move). I want to do year 12 English again. I think I might be a dork.

In other news, I’m slowly picking up bits and pieces of yoga teaching work as well, and I can’t even begin to describe how much I’m enjoying it. Such a rewarding experience. Hopefully I’ll have a website up soonish that I can share here (and if you’re in Sydney you can come to some of my classes!).

But for now, back to reading fiction — guilt-free!

(PS. Pop by my page and sponsor me — it’s for a good cause.)

Time management and creativity

I’m a bit all over the place at the moment. My brain has to spend time in so many different spaces; it’s starting to feel as though I can’t give any of them enough attention.

I missed the Monday Project deadline this month; I’ve not yet started studying for a Sanskrit test I have at yoga school next week; I’ve got four books on the go, a couple for an essay I’m working on, the third for yoga study, the other for pleasure, and they’re all just inching forward; I’m writing like mad most days, but I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere with it; I’m doing a yoga asana practice most days, but not quite making it to a class.

What I don’t understand is how, if I’m only working an odd day here and there at my old job, I’ve managed to get to the point where I feel so overworked. Actually, I lie, I know exactly how: I push myself to fit more and more in and don’t give myself enough of a break (or one at all). But I don’t understand why I don’t learn!

My guess is that it’s just a matter of time. I’ll work it out at some point, hopefully. I’m bad at being patient, worse at being patient with myself. Sigh.

Meanwhile, I’m off to the Blue Mountains for a couple of nights this weekend, to hang out with my family and some friends, eating food and (probably) drinking wine. And relaxing.

Hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever you’re doing.