Flicking through one of my many lists of things To Do – this one divided into Big, Medium, Little, then further into Long (term), Medium, Short – I realise that the deadline for the ABC Fiction Awards is looming. June 29.
I have something I was vaguely intending to enter. It needs a lot more work. Like a lot. But in some ways, I was thinking of giving this particular work this One Last Chance. You know, One Final Push, before I think to myself ‘well, it’s had a good life…it didn’t get published, but that’s life in the big city…NEXT’. And I feel like if I don’t give it One Last Chance then I’ll never be able to move on to the next thing. Which I have to do, because I told someone I would, and they gave me something in exchange. Do you see what I mean?
But June 29. That’s not far away. Is it?
So I have written a plan of what I would need to do. I have used a clean printout and my lamy lead pencil (it’s red). It Can’t Be Done. Not with Everything Else. There’re the obvious things – an important gig next week that I want to write some new material for (I think that is how you use the word gig, though to be honest, it does not come easily off my tongue); a small number of book reviews; an article which is already overdue; an article whose deadline looms; the Big Comedy Piece I am determined to write; the application for something I really want to do; the new novel which I am Determined I Will Begin. And then, there’re other things – the replacement computer I must buy before this one just refuses to start even after I plug and unplug it six times; the move of rooms so that I am no longer trying to work in the middle of the boys’ racing circuit; my determination that my contact with my friends Will Be Maintained. There’s cooking of course, and getting the boys safely home after school. And there are Other Things. Enormous wake-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night but not mine to blog about things. You know. You’ve got them, I’m sure.
And then, there’s the vegetable drawer which, no matter how many times I clean it, still has liquid in the bottom. Only last week, I cleaned it out, used the edgey veges for stock, converted the stock into soup, which was spooned into containers which were transferred to the freezer. How awesome is that? But wait, there’s more – we went away for the weekend, and because the freezer was so full it seems not to have closed properly and so we returned to a half-thawed freezer and potentially-botulistic soup – oh, it broke my heart, no matter that the ice had formed a beautiful winter wonderland.
Is it any wonder the mister returned home one evening to find me on the recognisable edge of a torrent of tears?
How I said, waving somewhat melodramatically at the vegetable drawer which seems to be filled with liquid mould again am I supposed to create? There was only a slight pause before I began – somewhat melodramatically again – I’m a failure at my job…all I have to do is keep the mould out and LOOK just LOOK.
I’m sure that you can see there was no room for rational discussion here. No amount of no one’s worth should be judged by the state of their vegetable drawer was going to work.
So, he did the only thing he could do. He scraped the cucumber – or was it zucchini – off the bottom of the drawer and then, when I sat down to work on the manuscript, he went into the bathroom and scrubbed the grout with an old toothbrush he had saved for just such a time.
And how do I repay this kindness? A few days later – when PlaySchool is on and I could be addressing the puzzle of the chapter which I know will work, I just have to work out how – I blog.