It's been an odd week or so. The irony is that when I am busy getting things done in real life, my blogging suffers. I started blogging almost four years ago now as a way to get myself writing and to exercise my writing muscles. Now, much of my everyday life consists of writing and reading and I don't need the exercise so much. And I just often don't have the time or energy to write something interesting and significant. If you're interested in brief snippets of my life, you can follow my tweets. Sometimes it is easier to come up with 140 characters than a fully fledged post.
The second irony is that in being busy, I've started writing fiction again in odd moments. I've picked up a second part-time job working in a friend's shoe store. In between pricing shoes and helping people select shoes, I often have quiet moments and the motivation to write. I think my family are a bit horrified that I'm heading down the path of career suicide or are at the very least over-qualified. I point out that it's not a lifetime career choice but a part-time job that pays a few bills and isn't too stressful. I'm working two half days, between taking the kids to school and picking them up. It's a local shop in the next small town. I see lots of people I know, meet many others and find the people watching fascinating. I'm wondering if I could get away with writing a book based on the characters I meet in the mode of D.E. Stevenson's Miss Buncle.
It's also a delight to be out of the university and community consultancy mindset. No-one is talking about key learnings, policy recommendations, transparency, accountability, commitment to social equity, strategic support and all the jargon of bureaucracies everywhere. Not that I don't enjoy that but I can step away from it and see it for the self-contained (though better-paid) world that it is.
I'm also working on helping the shop get into online shopping. It's a slow process starting with needing to get a new computer. I discovered that the computer in the shop was bought second hand in 1998 from the local high school! I personally would never buy a computer that has ever been anywhere near a high school. It's like buying a car from a driving instructor -- the guts have been well and truly flogged out of it (not to mention the germs). Oddly enough, this dinosaur is connected to broadband. It's like the Mississippi River funnelled through a mouse-powered turbine that chokes regularly. Once the hardware problem has been solved, I suspect I've have less spare time for writing but I'll be using again some of my "core competencies" to "strategically position" the shoe store online.
See. I can still do it.