The New Year is coming up again. Only three weeks till September and all the things I say I'm going to do "in the fall". The list is longer and worse than usual this year because of all the things I put off while I was doing my screenwriting course with those 24-hour deadlines. I kept up with the course but other duties, tasks, follow-ups and even must-dos fell by the wayside. Now I'm facing the challenges of a very comprehensive and unforgiving list.
I look at writers of the past, men and a few women who have surveyed to this day, with work still in print and in demand. No comfort there. How, you ask, did they write so much when they didn't have computers, let alone typewriters or ballpoint pens? They used quill pens and a bottle of ink, which was often frozen in the morning in their cold, unheated bedrooms. Yes, and who sharpened the pens and heated the ink, i.e. lit the fires? No one, that's who, I mean no one who was anyone. There has always been a serving class, whether slave, or bond, or poor, who did the scut work. (Gloria Steinem called housecleaning shit work.) The writers were mostly men or a few women with means, that is, who relied on someone else to light the fire and wash the clothes and cook the meals and so on and on. And what about the children? Oy.
Award-winning, American writer Alice Walker (N.B. The Color Purple) said you could be a woman writer and have one child; more than one you you're "a dead duck", unless you're Danielle Steele (nine children at last count?).
John Milton (1608-1674) had useful children, daughters he used as amanuenses to record the poetry he wrote in his head at night. He was blind, as you may remember, and he dictated his work to his girls. Nice.
Years ago I read a list of activities that everyone should do for himself, to be aware of what life is all about, things like keeping one's self clean, clothes and body (and mind?) and living arrangements; supplying and preparing one's food; taking care of the children - back to children again.
Mine are grown, almost. My youngest, now 56 years old, is challenged and reasonably self-sufficient, thanks to some community support and me. He is no burden now but I put in a lot of years ensuring his future as an independent person. Why am I telling you all this? Because some of my new year resolutions involve Matt: checking his clothes, tossing stuff, seeing what works or what has to be replaced in his apartment. He shares accommodation with a mate assigned to him by Community Living, but most of the furniture and equipment is his and I have to make sure it's still functioning.
And I must keep functioning also. I try. My cleaning lady (See? We all depend on scutwork done by someone else.) - my cleaning lady sees me at the computer ( like right now) or pushing paper around and she has commented more than once that it's nice to see I have a "pastime". I bristle. This is no pastime. This is work. This is my life. I must get on with it.
Beginning in September. Again.