Procrastination… you evil temptress!
by Anna Buckley
I’ve begun writing the next trilogy but the first chapter just isn’t working. Last night I tossed and turned, not only from the oppressive temperature of a late November heat wave, but because I was missing the words to fix my literary problem. Two hours later an idea began to form and I hastily scribbled notes onto the whiteboard in my study. Hopefully sleep would now come…
I rose the next morning, groggy from a broken slumber, and walked into my study to see what illegible notes I’d scrawled during the night. The problem was the new ‘Mother’ character. She wasn’t believable and needed to be completely rewritten, which meant chucking out about 5,000 precious words and starting again. I dreaded the task ahead.
Coffee would help, two in fact. Then the papers were read from cover to cover and the crossword completed. Glanced at the clock, 9am, still plenty of time.
A mountain of emails required my undivided attention. Comments, the length of a doctoral thesis, were given to bloggers I was following.
I should start this weeks post but was uninspired so trawled through my photos to see if anything jumped out. Found pics of trip to Cambodia and spent far too much time looking up Trip Advisor to see if anyone loved that hotel as much as I did. The clock said 11am. Shit the day was slipping away.
I hung out the wet things and put another load in the machine. It would be much quicker to stuff everything in the dryer but, as we were now living on one income, and it was very hot day, the clothesline could do the drying for free. It just took a little longer, the line was up 2 flights of stairs….but felt very ‘Roof deck in Rome’ and I watered the plants, took in the view and contemplated the complexity of the character I needed to rewrite. Four loads later and I was feeling very smug and a little bit puffed!
So I decamped to the lounge, got everything into it’s respective heaps and began the almost insurmountable pile of ironing. I turned on the TV and trawled through the dozens of shows I’d recorded and, in a trance-like state, pressed away.
And to justify watching a shitload of crap TV (did I really have to see the end of ‘Dating Naked’?) I even ironed the tea-towels. Then when it came to the shirts, my noble attempt at saving the planet and hanging them outside to dry, had left them with stiff, deep creases. The wrinkly cotton needed a good spray of water. No problem, the Ikea atomizer would to the trick. Another coffee and as I was fumbling for the remote, knocked the sprayer over, cracked the bottle open, rendering it useless and the shirts un-ironable.
I would zip off to Ikea in Richmond, only a suburb away, get another sprayer and do some grocery shopping while there. My daughter called, wanted to come over and use my sewing machine. I was heading in her direction, knew she’d be in for a bit of retail distraction so I picked her up along the way.
Road works and post lunch traffic saw this 10 minute trip stretch to 30. Sneaky detours to avoid the road closures added another 15 minutes….apparently everyone had the same idea.
We circled the car park ready to pounce on the nearest available space…. and from the outer reaches of the rooftop we finally found a spot…seems everyone was starting their Christmas shopping early! We made the long trek across the hot tarmac, down the walkway, into the shopping centre, up the stairs and into our cool retail mecca.
We ambled through all the displays and stopped to look longingly at the perfect little vignettes of domestic bliss. Imagining how we too would decorate our own little micro apartment. And then we reached the market hall….
Where we fell victim to temptation and all those things that so magically popped themselves into that big blue bag. We lugged our booty to the queue at the self serve checkout and waited, wondering if this was in fact the speediest option. It gave us time to reconsider the stupid amount of stuff we’d grabbed.
“No Ikea, you will not win,” I said to myself and went back and returned all those unnecessary things to their neat little shelves. A victory for my bank account but a defeat in the line up as the queue had almost doubled by the time I returned.
Eventually we got out but had to stop for the compulsory hot dog (tradition must be upheld!). No mustard meant a slight delay as the vat was refilled. So we walked through the Swedish supermarket and contemplated how we could use lingon berries. Our discussion was overheard by a Scandinavian expat. She told us that they were foraged wild and used in jams. We swapped stories of Christmas traditions and commented on the heat, so unlike the weather of the festive season in the Northern Hemisphere.
Another queue while we all tried to work out how to use the new ticketed parking system. No one could get the scanner to work. We buzzed the office and waited till the guy made his way up from the basement and patronizingly guided us through the process. Why don’t they get him to man the exit in the first place!
We fought the traffic on Victoria Street (Melbourne’s ‘Little Vietnam’), busier and more chaotic than Ho Chi Minh City, and squeezed our way into that carpark designed more for bicycles than the average vehicle.
Then into Aldi where I did the grocery shopping, pausing to look at the marvelous array of obscure items in the centre aisles, (could I really justify buying a wood burning Hibachi?). Finally, trolley filled, car loaded we headed home.
Finished ironing a weeks worth of shirts, restitched the odd button, and took them upstairs.
I never ever bother making the bed, but today I knew this mess of sheets would have to be sorted if we were going to catch up on last nights lost sleep. Which was probably an exercise in futility as another torrid night was forecast!
But before I could start writing, the sewing machine was being difficult so I went back downstairs and helped sort out the problem. New needle, change of tactics and both of us contemplating whether it was worth deconstructing the second hand pants.
And then the doorbell rang and my darling cousin had a load of timber ready for our firepit (I knew I should’ve bought that Hibachi!) We unloaded then, on this hot day, shared an ice cold glass of lime juice cordial, chatted, catching up, talking about our kids and what we might be doing at Christmas.
I looked at the clock, it was six thirty. My daughter, who no longer lives with us, was staying to share a meal, my son had returned from uni and my husband would be soon home from work. They would all be hungry. I needed to get cooking.
The chicken had defrosted. No time for the curry. Instead I coated the thighs in cumin and salt, flash fried then piled them on to a Vietnamese coleslaw. I finished the rather bland dish by drizzling over some peanut sauce I’d discovered in the now sparkling clean fridge (recipes coming later).
So much done, so little achieved…not a single word written. What on earth had happened to my plan?
I knew. Procrastination had kept me occupied and cleverly won the day! Tomorrow I would not let her succeed again…. or else I’d have the wrath of my editor to deal with…surely Karyn you’d understand?
I poured a wine and begrudgingly… acknowledged defeat.
Does anyone else have days like this?
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The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion, travel, and … men.