Where Does the Day Go?


Yesterday, the day went to the Wantage (not just) Betjeman Festival.   After giving the dog his customary walk, and failing to do my daily yoga, leaving at nine to drive to Portsmouth and pick up a big fan of The Marlowe Papers who I’ve got to know a little over the last few months via Facebook and Twitter.  She’ s disabled and the public transport between Portsmouth and Wantage isn’t the easiest to negotiate even for the most sprightly of us – and I thought, what the heck, spare seat in the car, only a small diversion off an alternative route, maybe half an hour longer in total.  We got there an hour early so we could have lunch which was on her as a thank you (she also gave me a very lovely planted flower arrangement). The disabled badge was handy parking-wise.

I ran a creative writing workshop for seven people from 1-3pm;  they were a good bunch, willing and good-humoured, and Dorothy, chief organiser there at the Vale & Downland museum, commented on the laughter coming through the walls.    Between 3.15 and 5.30 I wrote just over 400 words of the next novel at a table in the cafe.  From 6 until 7 I did my scheduled reading and talk on The Marlowe Papers.  A fabulously lively and interested audience asked some great questions after the reading and – as usual – we could easily have gone on, but there was another event slated.    Then back to Brighton via Portsmouth, roof down all the way (the chief benefit of travelling by car, in my view) and pretty much straight to bed.

Today is Halloween, and even though it’s a home-based day, I’m wondering where I can squeeze in my daily words.   After the dog (and again, skipping yoga), I saw two of my private clients. Then it was lunch, then pumpkin carving with my daughter (which she had written up on her day’s schedule).  In half an hour, I’m leaving for a two-hour talk at the university which will take me to 5.30.  My daughter wants me to bake a sweet pumpkin pie but I don’t have all the ingredients and am not convinced it will be anything more than a curiosity (no-one here really likes sweet things, except those who are trying to lose weight, and they won’t thank me).  So between half five and 7, when I will be expected to dress up as a witch and take Dearest Creature out trick-or-treating, I will see if I can conjure up a few more words.

Yet I will not have taken any further steps towards organising the online launch party for the US launch of The Marlowe Papers, nor made any progress on the talk I am giving at the Globe for the Shakespearean Authorship Trust conference in November.

It is on days like this I wonder how I can be thinking of applying for a full-time creative writing lectureship.  Writing is sidelined so often already; could it really survive a full-time teaching post?


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