I’ve had a week off work. Anyone who knows me well will draw a sharp breath and look surprised because I am the original workaholic. For a while now I’ve been deep int the mire of high level thinking about stuff and this week I finally got to the bottom of where my future lies.
I’ve spent almost a full week excavating my back yard. I live in a Victorian terraced house that was built in 1879 and we found layers of concrete, layers of tarmac and eventually setts. We also uncovered some beautiful Cathedral stone slabs near the back door. Needless to say we are keeping the old stone slabs, they have cleaned up beautifully.
Always one for metaphores, as the crappy concrete and the hard tarmac was chipped back (with the help of me on a road drill) I felt as if the time to think, away from computers and phones and my Blackberry peeled away the harsh layers of my life that had been covering the good bits. For too long now I have dwelt in necessity, not paying much attention to what I want, and the beauty in my life. It’s been a long process, but finally both me and the yard are somewhere near our original state.
During this process I received a rejection for some short stories I have submitted. I also had time to take stock of submissions to agents that have not been responded to. I take criticism well, my years at the end of endless revisions have laid the ground for something constructive to come out of most evaluation processes. The good things that came out of this week are that I suspect that I have been fishing in the wrong pool.
Firstly, I have written two and a half non fiction books, one is submitted and in the hands of fate as I type. Of the three novels I have written, I have had moderate success in my submissions, sending out a couple of full MS for each, but it has come to nothing. I have had one short story published in Best years ago and several in anthologies. Putting aside the focus on being published, this is a large volume of work and doesn’t even include my academic writing.
So, I have a lot of words – what am I going to do with them? I’m going to take the weekend to think about it. By next week my lovely new garden will be in place and I will have made a new plan. I won’t give up because I have a more words just bursting to escape, under the right conditions.
From now on I’m all about creativity. Plants, words, theory, painting, anything that produces something beautiful. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and not everyone will like my Cathedral stone slabs, but at the end of the day I will look at them and appreciate my newly uncovered wealth and celebrate.
Recently I have questioned my original premise for writing, realising that some people just don’t understand my rationale. After my vacation I fully intend to defend what I have spent a while making – instead of making excuses for my innovative art I’m going to extend it into the rest of my life.
So, it’s back to the day job next week and back to the page – this time with renewed confidence in my storytelling and it’s hermeneutic properties. I nearly forgot where I was going for a moment – but several situations this week have synchronised to guide me back on course.