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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Faffing. Perceptions and Reality.

This blog is a day late, I hope you have not suffered.  However, we are here now, writing and reading, so perhaps we can let this slide into what some may call the Great Cosmic Circle of Life.  And now, from this same Great Cosmic Circle of Life comes today's blog.  Read on, it is topical, and universal.  I deal, today, with faffing.  There are two strands of thought in my head at the moment, 1.  Perception   2.  Reality. 

Fiddling and Faffing. (Perception)

I am all of a dither.  My to do list would read thus
  • Fiddle a bit in office
  • Fiddle a bit in studio
  • Faff in both rooms
  • Hoover everything
  • Expect the bailiffs
  • Deny everything
A day contains only 24 hours. There is a day time and a night time with sleeps for up to 8 hours included, and mealtimes thrown in to cheer us up.  After having done the chatting to the family bit, after having done the daily bits and pieces of getting dressed and up and running, there is not an endless stretch of time to work, do your thing, make a difference, change the world.  This part of the 24 hours, the bit where I don't have to do any more household stuff, is the bit where either I faff, or I get things done.  Each day the amount of time is about the same for me to either gird my loins and smite the smiteable, or to clasp my hands together and wring them.

As a Faffer, the day is not long enough.  There is too much to do, and yet when asked to make a list, the list would read as above.  Here is an example of a more considered Faffer's list

  1. Um.
  2. Write a list
  3. I really ought to wash the bathroom tiles
  4. Er.
  5. Got to write a speech and paint 4 more paintings by 5pm today
  6. Plan the whole of next year
  7. Call Weight Watchers help line
So as a Faffer, the perception of time is that it isn't enough, however long one has.  When I am Faffing I cannot remember what it is that I have to do, I couldn't make a list to save my life.  It seems as if there is an enormous world outside, beyond my studio, full of people who have noticed the things that I have not done and full of furious people in companies, organisations, groups, who are slamming down onto their very organised and perfectly planned desks, the latest memo that has come to their attention of all the things that could have been just perfect if only Antonia Rolls had stopped filing her nails and putting the washing on, and done all those nebulous things that she had promised to do.  Here we are, one glowering successful person is saying across a sunlit open planned office in a gloriously up beat part of town, to another.  Here we are, saving the world, making a difference, doing what comes naturally to people like us, being efficient - but now!  There is faffing going on in Bognor Regis, and it is holding us up.  We cannot have this!  Off with her head!

At times like these, when I can't quite get my thinking straight, it is as if the things that I long to do and that I have promised to do, drift away past me, like the old Bisto gravy advert, where the two children sniff longingly and delightedly as the smell of Bisto tantilisingly passes under their noses and out through the open window into the middle distance.  I am sure that I have signed up for more than I can deliver, I am sure that I don't have the power to deliver all those dreams that once seemed so important. It is not helpful, though inevitable, to be over critical when watching ones life and ambition drift like the Bisto advert, out of the open window and off into the neighbour's garden.  Ah me! I say as not only my dreams and ambitions disappear slowly into my neighbour's garden, ah me!  Time itself has been upended and what was once simply just a day for filling with pithy and delightful things to make the world a better place, has become a barren and ever decreasing speck of nothing on the space time continuum. Time, that thing which was once mine to command, is but a gravy advert, wafting away from under my nose out and into Bognor Regis, along with all of my common sense . At this point, 15 year old son comes home from school and I am relieved because one thing I can do at all times, is cook sausages. 

Girding of the Loins. (Reality)

Very astute folk say that we can't know what we do want unless we have experienced what we don't want.  Well, I don't want to faff.  I know I don't want to faff because I have done so, and it gets me nowhere.  Here is the reality and the part where I metaphorically gird my loins and get on out there.  So to speak.

Time! I say, with passion.  I bite my thumb at you!  What is this nonsense that there is not enough of you?  There is always the same amount of you, and sometimes you get full up.  Sometimes you don't.  It is my perception of you, when in a droopy state of mind, that is making me feel so low. So now, when I am aware that time is not my enemy, faffing is a thing of the mind, and that I am not, somehow, homeless and without a future, I can get on with stuff.  Once I am clear of mind again, once I have come out from the Tunnel of Faff, I wonder what on earth it was all about.  Those people slapping down memos saying, Good Lord, she was but a whisp of promise in the air, that is all, sever all connections!  are now saying, What vim!  What verve!  Let us work with her because she is all that she said she was and whatever that is, we need it to save the planet.  Send her an email saying Yes!

My lists when I am feeling on top of things, make sense.  They create order for me, so that I do not feel that my projects are ridiculously unrealistic.  I have a calender in my kitchen, I have a diary in my bag and I have a To Do list in my studio.  I also have a large whiteboard in the studio on which I write all of the projects and commitments that I have for the year and behind that, I have three whiteboards on which I have written A Graceful Death, Commissions, and Other.  Overkill?  Perhaps.  And my friend Jane just gave me a lovely notebook to use for all my thoughts and ideas.  I need all this organising, I like to write it all down, and I like to see evidence everywhere of what is happening in Antonia Land.  It can all be terribly exciting.  It acts as a brake too, so that the truly potty ideas can be rubbed smartly out and a small now now Antonia, feet on the ground please.  Concentrate.  Sensible only please, administered.  When I am with my Soul Midwife friends who are trained medics I tend to decide to go and study medicine.  Tomorrow.  When I am with my Soul Midwife friends who are members of the Clergy, I tend to want to go an get ordained.  Tomorrow.  I have to keep a strict eye on myself in order that I do what I do best, which is to paint, to write, to be with people when they need it and to cook sausages.  And to do A Graceful Death and do talks and do workshops and meet new people and say yes to everything....

So this is my reality.  I get stuck, and then I get unstuck.  When I am stuck, when I am miserable, I can't paint.  I can't think, and I can't do anything.  When that passes, which it always does, I am very relieved and set about writing my lists with gay abandon.  I can do it all!  You want A Graceful Death in Smolensk?  Yes!  You want a workshop on Soul Midwives in the Offshore Oil Industry? Yes!  You want a spot of Reiki even though you live in Timbuktu? Of course!  You want a portrait of your entire extended family in fancy dress plus all retainers?  Yes!  Actually, none of these things happen, I have not been offered anything like this but if I was, I would say Yes! 

And So -

And so, life goes on.  Back to the Great Cosmic Circle of Life which we mentioned at the beginning of this blog.    Written in fire at the top of the Great Cosmic Circle of Life are the immortal words Faff Not, Thou Of Little Faith and below, still in words of fire, Gird Thee Thy Loins, Time To Write A List.  And in between, descriptions of many stages along the way.  And in the middle, written in a hand older than time itself, the words, Remember Thou, Bisto.