Thursday, February 08, 2007

Shock, fear, and amazement. February 2007

AOG, Madrid

You learn a little bit about your stupid self each day, don't you? I have sat in front of my laptop since about 11pm trying to find something to write about. I have checked emails, signed up my spanish blog on a website which somehow trades with personal blogs (why? well obviously because I was bored!!) checked emails, read various newspaper websites, emails, watched tv, had dinner, spoken to my partner who is in Bucharest tonight and tells me that the 4 star hotel's guestlist is filled with the photographs of various women (prostitutes), spoken to Madame Mère on the phone to London, emails encore, read a couple of blogs, and finally, after hours of uselessness, I turn the TV volume down. Suddenly, I start writing.

What does this say about me? That I am very bad at time management. Did I learn this today? Well, I'm not sure that I've actually learnt anything. There are people in this world who operate best when things stick to a well laid-out plan. Who can work to a deadline because they have worked out what to do at any given moment. I wish I were one of these people. But I am not.

I live and operate in something approaching chaos. Not entirely chaos of course, because I do sometimes manage to amaze myself and can follow an unwritten plan from beginning to end and things turn out well. Somehow. And, I am sure, also in spite of myself.

Last year, during my Master, we had a writer give us a chat about her work and work schedule. Almudena Grandes, told us how manic she was about work outlines. How any novel she wrote had to be outlined and planned out from beginning to end. I listened in complete amazement. It was as if I had been living in a separate planet all my life.

Later on, the "Culture" tutor asked if any of us wrote. A couple of us raised our hands. A guy had actually published a couple of short stories, and this girl had also had some work published. And then there was me. Unpublished, with a dozen or so unfinished short stories. "Do you have an outline?" he asked. "No. In fact the mere thought of writing to an outline fills me with horror". Some thought it was funny. Our tutor replied "then it must all be in your head. Don't start changing it!!" More laughter. But for me, although still in a slight state of shock, a new road had been laid out. One I could choose not to travel on, but one which did show a prize of sorts at the end.

So what has happened since? A couple of weeks ago, on my way to London, I began writing again. I spent about 45 minutes looking for a pad at Barajas airport whilst waiting for my 2 and a half hours late flight to land. And I began to write. A whole page and a half. And it remains unfinished and unworked on. But I have been thinking about it a lot. Which I don't normally do. Has my writing changed? I think so. For the better? I doubt it. I am obviously at the "not finished yet" stage.

I have never welcomed distraction. Nor routine. I know I sound contradictory. I can't help it.

But not all was lost. I did find an interesting thing online when I was surfing the net a few hours ago (it is now 2:26 AM). There is a gay retirement village being built in the US.

A few years ago, having a partner had never entered my mind. Never mind spending your life with another person. Suddenly, retirement beckons. I am in my 30s and this pops up. Is it a message from the future? Whatever it is, it is nice to know that such a place exists. I did wonder what and where I would be when that time comes. Better stop now before this gets too depressing. For me that is.

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