Monday, 21 September 2009

Split Life

This afternoon, I'm experiencing an unexpected break in my Hectic New Life. I had a weird 12-hour illness yesterday which sent me straight to bed without passing Go, and although I managed to get myself to work today, I've had to accept I wasn't capable of much else, so instead of the usual Get a Million Things Done In All Spare Moments attitude, I'm chilling out and catching up on the internet. Which means getting to really savour not only Mike (Troubled Diva)'s posts about his stint on the Trafalgar Square plinth last week, but watching / listening to the whole thing while simultaneously writing a blog post. Seriously though, you should watch him. It's inspirational. It's made me both grin (very widely) and cry.

But what about my Hectic New Life, I hear you cry? Well. It's pretty brilliant, actually. Hard-ish, but nowhere near as hard as it's going to be later in the year. It's great to be getting out of the house every day, to have a structure and purpose to my life again. I really don't think I'm suited to the freelance life, cerrtainly not when it mostly consists to being on my own at my desk. The weird thing is that I always knew this, and never attempted to send my life down that route, always preferring to have a job and stating very confidently that I wouldn't enjoy being self-employed. What can I say? I was probably right. And, just in case any of you out there are contemplating it... I do think that it's a particularly bad idea to set yourself up as a freelance immediately after having a baby. It seems as though it would make sense, but really it doesn't. After childbirth you need to get up, get out, move on - not hang around at home. But anyway. Lesson learnt.

And the new career... arrrgh. I know it's sensible not to write about it in public. I know that in the long run - or even the short - I could get myself into trouble. I also know that for similar reasons it was the right decision to keep quiet about being a novelist when chatting to new colleagues. But it's so odd. I've split myself in two. And yes, I feel negatively abotu my writing career at the moment, but it's not a healthy negativity and shouldn't be encouraged. But this business of not even telling people about it just reinforces all those negative feelings. It's a part of who I am. An important part. It's not good to have to bury it like this. When people ask what I've done up to now, I tell them I was a software engineer for twelve years, then took a couple of years out to have a baby. When people express surprise at my ability to write many words fast, I can't explain the one big reason why I'm well qualified to do just that. And here, where I can talk about being a writer... I can't talk about the new career. Even though it's dead interesting and I've proud of it (which is also how I feel about the writing, on good days)... well. Argh.

I keep toying with the idea of making this blog private, or starting a new completely anonymous blog, but either one of those could easily backfire, and anyway I don't really have time for blogging much any more.

Oh well.

Mike is still boogeying in the background, but I'll have to pause him now while I walk the dogs. Hmm. Pausing two separate things simultaneously: Not really possible. Never mind, will create an interesting phase shift on resumption. I have to see that water bottle moment!

Sorry I haven't been around much lately, but apparently blogging is dead anyway so I guess it doesn't matter! :O) Everybody else is Twittering and Facebooking and Spotifying and YouTubeing and all that other stuff I never have time for. I'm such a dinosaur.

This was a very floppy blog post. Everybody do a Floppy Dog Dance in tribute.

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Poking Stick

7-yr-old: "What's this, Mum?"

Mum: "Oh, blimey! Oh! Er... It's a toy. But it's broken. I need to throw it away."

[Mum puts it in the bin]

7-yr-old: "A toy? What does it do? Can I see?"

Mum: "Oh, er, no. It's broken."

7-yr-old: "Is it for poking people?"

Mum: "Um... Yes. Yes, it's a poking toy. But it's broken. And it's only for grownups."

7-yr-old: "How does it work? Does it do tickling too? Can I have a look?"

Mum: "Oh dear, this bin's full. Actually they're all full. I need to empty the bins."

[Mum empties the bin, hiding the poking toy in the process]


7-yr-old: "We're making milkshakes."

Mum: "Oh, really?"

7-yr-old: "Yes, look. We're using your toy! Did you know it vibrates?"

Mum: "Oh dear."

7-yr-old: "Look!"

Mum: "Yes, I see. Er. Um. Now... You see, I was going to talk to you about this. The thing is..."

[whirr, whirr, splish, splish]

7-yr-old: "Yes?"

Mum: "You know how I have periods?"

7-yr-old: [silent] [all whirring has ceased]

Mum: "You know, once a month, when the lining of my womb, where babies grow..."

7-yr-old: [silence]

Mum: "It sheds. And sometimes I have to plug it up..."


[that night]

Mum: " I told him it was some kind of vaginal stopper."

Dad: "Ha!"

Mum: "Do you think I went too far? Is that too close to the truth?"

Dad: "Or maybe just close enough."


7-yr-old: "I found my mum's plug."

7-yr-old's friend's mum: "Oh, really? What kind of plug?"

7-yr-old: "Well, it's white and it keeps the blood in."

Mum: "Ah, I see."

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Bum Byage

"Bum byage," said a 7-yr-old I know recently.

There was a pause, and then he continued.

"I don't actually know what that means," he said.

"Neither do I," I said.

"I think it's something sailors say," he said.

"Oh!" I said. "You mean bon voyage."

Another 7-yr-old I know was with me in the car as I drove down windy country lanes after a rainstorm, gleefully speeding through all the largest puddles and aiming to make the biggest splash possible.

"This is fun," he said. "Can I do it again?"

"Yes if you want," I said. "I've got to go back to get the others anyway."

"No," said the first seven-year-old. "He means come on holiday with us again."

"Oh I'm sorry," I said. "I misunderstood."

"People always misunderstand me," said the second 7-yr-old.


"Yeah, it's cuz I don't really actually got the words to mean what I mean."