My mother often called me lazy as a child and I can remember the guilt I felt. But it didn’t spring me into action. Desperate for some space, to claim her suburban palace a child-free zone, she would chide, “Why don’t you go out in the sunshine?”
“Because it isn’t shining.”
“Where are all your friends? They might find new ones.”
“Don’t care.” I would rather lay there reading Enid Blyton until I went blind or scare myself witless watching Bette Davis movies.
Of course, now I know that all that stuff was research. Can I just say, I love research! As a writer of fiction it is essential to watch movies, read heaps and walk on the beach. It is! I may very rarely get paid but I do it for the expression, the love, the lying around and watching foreign films at ten o’clock in the morning. Ideally dressed in pedal pushers sipping a Gin Sling. I check out the gutter press for character ideas and eavesdrop in cafes for tidbits of conversation. Writers are the bowerbirds of the world. It involves a fair amount of nicking; snippets of conversation and character flaws. Failing that I make it up.
And reading, up to twenty books at any time. There are two in my handbag; a novel and a book of short stories. Two on my occasional table (I love that stupid term), alongside the numerous others lent to me for which I have a mental block until their owners ask for them back then I’m suddenly keen to read them. Ten by the bed of which I only read one at a time (the rest gather dust and worse) before turning off the light at night. I also have one in Italian. I’m learning the language in the hope that this will bring me closer to actually visiting the place. Not working so far. And lastly, the one I’m reading to my son which is presently ‘So Long and Thanks for all the Fish’ by the sublime Douglas Adams. I do all the voices when I read aloud to him but prefer British regional accents, Aussie drawls and bad Russian I’ve gleaned from watching too many episodes of ‘ Spooks’.
Sometimes my busy friends (of which I seem to have many, their purpose is to make me look bad) turn to me in astonishment when I murmur that I have been in a frenzy all day. I mean really. What could I have been doing that could be described as productive? Walking around with my head in the clouds, reading other people’s short stories on the sofa. Trying to find examples of bad Russian quotes on the worldwide inter-web? Busy is meetings, constant telephone calls to arrange meetings, non-stop reminders in diaries to make those telephone calls to make meetings. I know, I’ve done it and it paid well but it didn’t suit. I’m a delicate type with a short attention span.
Luckily for me the husband likes to keep me sane so doesn’t give me a hard time about my frivolous, devil-may-care existence. But that doesn’t stop me running through a list on my fingers of the tasks I performed that day, on occasions when I feel I’m enjoying myself a little too much. On those days I pounce on him when he tucks his head round the door after a busy day of meetings, arranging meetings, etc.
“Hi Honey! Guess what? I learnt to swear in four languages, realigned my chakras and picked weevils out of biscuits today.” And sometimes; “I practiced telekinesiss, turned an old nipple tassel into a brooch and made friends with my vagina using a hand mirror.”
What did you do today?