My sitting room has two sofas, one by the window, and one by the door. I usually sit by the window, but Fancy Girl is here for the week, doing last minute stuff for University, and she is sitting on my usual sofa by the window, in the sunshine. I am sitting on the other sofa, and feeling very comfortable, and very gracious, allowing my usual spot to be taken by my daughter. Her needs are greater than mine, I say to myself, but what I really mean is, she was there first and has occupied it.
There is no time for the studio at the moment. There is a surge of lodgers moving out, and new ones moving in. Giant Boy is thinking about driving lessons. Fancy Girl is doing her last minute Uni work and I have no real space to think. I have returned from AGD in Bridport, with all the work and effort, all the rewards and engagements there, to Bognor where a different kind of world awaits me. A world where, amongst other things to do with hoovering and washing and wiping with antiseptic wet wipes, a blind needs repairing, the laundry needs doing, Giant Boy requires some proper food and the garden needs help. And so, sublime to the ridiculous. The sublime is where I am working through the A Graceful Death exhibition and project, reaching people, asking questions, understanding things, sitting with the dying, with the bereaved, with the curious, being brave. The ridiculous is dirty dishes being added to a clean dishwasher, piles of laundry, lots of bills to pay and wilted flowers in old water on the kitchen table.
November has been a difficult, exciting and rather confusing month. And so, I have decided to take control. I will make December into a caring, gentle, Antonia centred event. December will be my month of space, of wilfully following my nose, of only sitting next to people who agree with and are very nice to me. There will be space, a whole 4' at least, between me and any of my children, my family, my friends or other human beings who are in the same room as me. I have a piece of wood in the studio that is 4' long, I will hold it out in front of me, so I can keep all my dealings with other people at a safe distance. I won't engage with anyone who is not at the end of my stick. "No," I will say, "you are too close. Let me poke you with my stick to a safe distance, and only then shall I deal with your communications." There will be space between me and the studio, between me and the cooker, between me and answering the phone. During December, I will wander aimlessly and happily around. My favourite sentence will be, "Sorry, can't hear you," and my distance stick will make sure only the most dedicated keep going until I decide to hear them.
|Fancy Girl on the wrong sofa, the right one for her, and still the mammoth last minute University assignment continues. My sofa, the right one for me and the wrong one for her, is free now and I am one step closer to a me-centred December|
- I shall do nothing until January.
- Or February
- Fancy Girl and her boyfriend are off to Australia in December, leaving me use of their flat. I will go there to write.
- I won't tell anyone about this
- I may change my name in December and speak with a Welsh accent.
- I may get a disguise for December. I think a Fireman's uniform is a good one. If someone stops me and says, "Oh thank goodness! A fireman! I have a fire for you to put out," I will say to them, "I have a raging fire in my soul, which I need to address, and until that fire in my soul is under control, I cannot put out the fire in your wheelie bin."
- I don't have to come out of this bedroom until five minutes before the next lodger arrives in mid December.
- Garlic sandwiches are fine. It's not my problem.
I have been rushing ahead full tilt, feeling, as one does, invincible and rather unstoppable. "Pile on the events!" I said to everyone, "the more the merrier!" I felt robust and inspired, and imagined that it was easy to put on as many AGD events as I wanted, to continue to work with people at the end of life and run the family, deal with the lodgers, try to lose weight, and do the hoovering. It is absolutely possible to do those things, but not all the time. No, not all the time. If you decide to be a human dynamo with no down time built in, sooner or later all the springs and wheels and cogs will start to fly off and everything will grind to a bit of a halt. I have lost count of the times my friends have told me of this. I cannot imagine the amount of times I have reminded someone else of this, but do I listen to myself? Or anyone else? Do I hell. And so, my cogs and wheels have pinged off into space, and I have had to stop. Like the Duracell bunny who's battery has run out, but with more cogs and wheels.
To end this small and intimate blog, I will tell you that a) I have lost over a stone and a half. I look the bees knees and will probably go mad now buying smaller clothes and wearing them at half hour intervals. b) I'm fine really. c) Both Giant Boy and Fancy Girl have followed me up here with their dinners and are sitting very close to me on the bed asking me if I want to be left alone. Sigh.
|A snack to keep me going while I plan my Me Friendly Month of December,|