Friday, 23 May 2008

Obsessions big and small

Do you ever feel like you just don’t want to talk to people? That another conversation or question or anything, perhaps even one of those “she’s looking at me” things that so irritates children, will just drive you over the edge? That’s pretty much how I am feeling now. Definitely out of sorts and it is 85% due to this whole renovation project and 15% due to not getting enough sleep.

I’m still getting up early to write and that is the one thing that I am satisfied about at the moment. I feel as if I have two lives that are totally separate from each other. One is a quiet life with the Jaeckels – writing rugged in up several layers in the quiet, cold morning light. The other is my manic everyday life of children, school activities, builders, plumbers, electricians and council regulations.

I am however, having problems getting those Jaeckels onto the boat. It’s as if they just want to hang around in Germany. I’m working on the principle that I need to write as much as and whatever I can now and the editing, tightening of prose and pacing of the plot can take place later. At a couple of pages a day it’s no wonder the Jaeckels aren’t moving very fast, but they are moving.

And so is the renovation. It’s at the stage right now of that last moment in cross-country, when your lungs are bursting and your legs burning and you know that you’re going fall flat on your face this side of the finish line. Or the first 10 minutes on the treadmill when you just want to die, but you push through it and start running smoothly. Mr Blithe and I sat down last night and wrote a list of what still needs to be done by the builder. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t a great deal. In the financial and emotional schemes it’s the penultimate push. I find myself waking up in those quiet dark moments of deep early morning, knowing that I will need to get out of bed all too soon and yet worrying about the house. I talked to the builder today and asked him to think about how much of the list he can finish for how much. Decisions have already been made on things that will have to wait and what absolutely needs to be done.

Compounding it all is my ambivalence about being so bound up in house renovation when there are many much greater things in the world, both to worry about and in which to be immersed. I don’t want to be one of those people who can only focus on their house. And yet, it is a major project, one in which I am intimately involved and one whose successful outcome is important to my life. So I’m going to obsess a little bit and try not to feel too guilty about doing so.

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