Yeah, the fridge freezer had been making funny noises for a while. But Yvonne knew better than to pay it any mind…
I’ve been Autumn-cleaning tonight. I’m cleaning, and even moving furniture too, because I’m about to get back seriously to my current writing project.
To put it otherwise, I know I’m about to get back to my big project because I’m cleaning. It’s my version of nesting, or of the intense cleaning some women I know do just before labour. I’m about to have a final draft. With that on the way, I won’t get to do things like cleaning for a while. With that on the way, if the house is in shape at least I’ll be able to do the long days and open the freezer drawer occasionally and find it will open. I’ll be able to hear myself think without getting irritable at the noise that appliance has been making the last few months – poor fridge freezer.
My project has been making similar noises. And now I’ve sorted the house out. I’ve moved furniture to free up the best space in the house for this, and done the right thing by a five- legged house spider I came across in the process, too ( put him out on my spare room windowsill, obviously). I’ve even spotted a leaking rad, got the shifter spanner at it and tied a sock around it (always my tourniquet of choice in my Palace of odd socks).
And yes, sure, much of this is procrastination, but I’m with Graham Linehan of Father Ted on this one – ( he’s all for procrastination too). I believe helpful things are happening in the back room of my head while I’m tying a sock round a radiator pipe and chatting to a five-legged spider. I really do. I more than believe it. I know this energy. I recognize it from the last time I entered a phase of good hard work. I’m excited, happy to do my chores because I feel about them like a person about to go on holiday from all that. Genuinely like I’m taking off on a voyage any moment: I don’t know where I’m going but know it’s going to be great. The celebratory glass of the only drink in the house, white port 19% proof, is helping my mood too! Sure it’s all good now!
Now I know it’s only a matter of a night’s sleep before I’m working on my big book again. I’ve about six weeks’ hard work and a few weeks’ looking over it to do. And then it will be done. Until then, so, I’m going to log in here, betimes, and report progress: things learned, fears outwitted. Because of course I am afraid I won’t be up to it. Thankfully I’m more scared of not doing it. And know also that I’ll feel a bit like I do tonight at the end of it. It will be a bit like having seen to the defrosting and done right by the spider and moved the furniture. In a bigger, happier and also sadder way, and five years’ work done with too.
I know there’ll be really hard moments in these weeks ahead. There’ll be times when I’ll get stuck. Thinking that, I’m reminded, possibly because I’m at home tonight doing housey things, of the time when I did get stuck here. I was restoring this house and got stuck in my extension behind a pine table. Yes I did.
I’d been trying to move this table from the back room forward to the living room. What I didn’t know was that it that didn’t fit through the passageway anymore since the carpenter had straightened up the kitchen presses. ( Himself had just had to do this; he couldn’t look at them the crooked way they were before). And so now, to ever get out of the back of my house again, I had to switch on the jigsaw. (And saw myself in half with it clearly: it was clear that that was what was going to happen though what I had actually to do was just say goodbye to the table and then cut two legs and an end clean ( if I was lucky) off it. Difficult but not self mutilating.
Except for the fact of how I loved this table. I’d inherited it from a friend now a thousand miles away, from her own creative life that had rested for some great years next door to mine in North Great George’ Street. Yes it had things wrong with it. It had a saggy board from where Nora had stood a full book case on it for a year once, before realising the damage she was doing it; it was ink-stained… But I never could see these flaws. But – and this was a more pressing but – right this minute I couldn’t get under it to escape from the back of my house because of the angle it was wedged at in my hallway. And – an and just as important – I couldn’t get over it without ruining the kitchen presses and embedding it in them.
So on I switched the saw.
And if I say it was a freeing feeling to saw the end of the table, I’m really not just punning. It was better than great. To cut up something I’d thought I was that attached to! ( Something inanimate I’d thought I was that attached to, I hurriedly add!) Where there’d been the old table, sagging and stained, now there was a smell of resin as if off brand new wood. There was me free. And the house, which would now have more space in it than I’d have allowed it before this necessity. I carted the table out to the front yard, was sorry for a few days and then never thought of it again till now, five years later.
If I’ve time, I expect to be doing things like that with what I’ve written, in the coming weeks. I know I’ll relish it. And maybe there won’t be time. Maybe I’m going to have to take the Black and Decker jigsaw to even the wish to do that much of a finishing job on this book. I’ve a deadline added onto a deadline added onto a deadline at this point. Maybe I’m just going to have to put in the fifteen-hour days for the weeks I have, and then move on to the next thing, the next thing I know I have it in me to finish well, if I can finish well this thing that lies in front of me now. I will only deserve to move on if I can do this, both well and also in a time that works for the people who are waiting on it from me.
So now I’m wishing myself luck and bon voyage. I’m firing up the engine. Enjoying odd little synchronicities in the little engine my house also is tonight as I write, knowing that it will be me and it alone together a lot of the time in these weeks.
Ice is still melting in the freezer: cracking in time and in key with a lovely piano version of Radiohead’s Exit Music on late night Lyric, in this little world of mine. The freezer’s full, and I can get the drawers open. And the piano version of Exit Music was by Christopher O’Neill, the radio’s telling me. And if I’m not allowed out, there’s always Amazon.com. And won’t I deserve all the greatest music in the world while I’m holed up here? And I’ll sure be glad to come out and do my classes around the edges of these writing days! I’ll sure be glad to see you!