21 March 2009

Best laid plans

This week, I'm having the week from hell as far as time goes. I have two lots of marking to do -- something I try to avoid as far as I can. And indeed I'd staggered these assessment tasks so that one was coming in last week, but then Higher Ed called a strike and, because they'd be picketing the gates, I pushed back the assessment task a week. Now that's the shortened version of the story, but close enough for the purposes of this blog as to why it was moved. 

Fine, I was going to have a big week marking. No problems. I'd finished my Ada Cambridge shortlisting, and was waiting for a manuscript I'm supposed to be editing for a small press publisher. All I had to do was be focused, not waste a second, mark, and I ought to be able to write as well.

Tuesday, I worked all day -- got home at ten thirty pm, only to find out I had to go to a funeral on Wednesday. Normally, I'd have writing group, so some of this time wouldn't have been spent marking anyway, but it did mean driving over the other side of town (an hour each way). But I'm not complaining. I had to go. I wanted to go. Sometimes these things happen, and part of living a writer's life is living a life, and that involves commitments and family time and all of that. (And, anyway, I had spent the morning marking.)

Thursday, though, I spend the day in hospital, taking my son to a fracture clinic. This involved several lots of waiting, casts being taken off and put back on, Xrays, the works, and by the time I got home in the late afternoon, I felt flat. What I didn't know was I was getting sick.

So, I spent Friday laid up. No, that's not exactly true. I spent the first couple of hours ferrying around my son, but that's a long and irrelevant story. Suffice to say, by the time I got home I had a fever and was aching all over, so that was really it for the day. I rarely have sick days, so shouldn't complain -- but couldn't it have been another week?

So, today, I'm marking like mad. Tomorrow too. Monday is class prep, perhaps workshopping. Perhaps more marking?

Somewhere in the next two days I might also need to hop back over to the other side of town, as another family member is desperately ill. And I don't use that adverb lightly.

And I have to do some writing. I have to squeeze it in somewhere. I could put it back a few more days -- I haven't done any since Monday, so what's the difference? The difference is that I'll rise further and further out of our story. I've just blogged about my writing process on our student blog and talked about how important immersion is for me. What I don't want is to emerge from the story, and I will if I don't get back in, quick smart.

I still come back to hearing Robin Hobb speak at one of the SF conferences in Melbourne a few years ago, and she said that we would never have more time to write than we have now. It's a sobering thought, and a true one. Life is precious. And it's short. And as busy as Flinders Street Station. Whenever you have free time, you have a million things that want to fill it, that want to cram out every writing moment. At least I do. I listen with envy to people who say they are bored. How does anyone get time to be bored? I mean, really. Boredom -- what is that? A luxury, I say, to those who have computers and want to write.

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