My mother said the other day, "You know, I thought once you were working part-time, we would be able to do things together, but it just hasn't happened. You're always busy."
That's the trouble with teaching -- if I'm not in class, I'm at home doing class prep, or marking, or workshopping. And the trouble with being a writer, because if I'm not doing that, I'm writing. And she doesn't get that at all. "How can you write," she says, "when your house is in a mess?" Or "You should do the dishes before you sit down to write." No. No writer should do the dishes first (unless of course they distract him from writing because he's worrying about them).
Now, as it happens, she levelled her complaint at me just before we went on mid-semester break. So, I said, "You know what: I've got the next two weeks free. I can give you one day each week." I actually thought this was pretty generous, because I still have writing group commitments, and one day of work, and writing to do. Lots of writing. I have to get my novel finished and out to readers, and back to my agent.
So, Mum says great and that we'll go see some movies together. Then she says, "And I can come on another day, and we can sort out your wardrobes and start getting rid of the old clothes." Hmm. Suddenly she was trying to wheedle her way into two days.
So I said no, and then after a brief hesitation (because what she's proposing is my idea of hell) I backed down and said, "Well, fine, we can do that -- if that's how you want to spend the one day that I can give you."
She quickly backed away from that one.
As it transpires, she was busy the first week, but this week we went to see Unfinished sky, with William McInnes and Monic Henrickx. I had no idea what we were going to see, but I like most movies (with the exception of the stupider type of comedies). So I went along with no expectations.
Where did this little gem come from and why hadn't I heard about it before? Unfinished sky is a well acted, gorgeously shot and interestingly written film. My first thought was why wasn't it a mainstream cinema release? Surely it would have mainstream appeal? But perhaps not. To not give too much away: it's the story of an illegal immigrant who is escaping a bad past and happens on the farm of a reclusive farmer who is still coming to grips with the death of his wife. She doesn't speak English -- and this to me is what would probably preclude it from a mainstream cinema release, but it's utterly watchable and compelling. (Perhaps the other stumbling block is the unlikeability of the main character at the beginning, but you soon begin to warm to him.)
If you have an arthouse cinema nearby, chalk this one onto your list of must-sees.