Posted by Oli on Sunday 19th August, 2007
It has occurred to me of late, rather alarmingly, that I may be turning into a middle-aged woman. Not in any real, physical sense, you understand – I’m not that weird, yet – but rather in what I like to call my “Mañana Manner”.
For years I’ve observed that strange phenomenon in women who feel a little over-weight to protest over a long, languid Sunday roast of a dozen or so courses with free-flowing wine and truffles to finish that their diet starts “tomorrow”. So many “tomorrows” are there in the world of middle-aged women that it’s a wonder today every happens at all.
Losing weight is obviously not an ideal goal for me – being the svelt 52kgs (that’s 8st 2lbs in old money or 114lbs to our American cousins) I am at the moment – but I have found the “Mañana Manner” creeping into other areas of my life ever more prominently as I continue to enjoy something of an “up”.
For weeks now, I’ve been promising myself that I will get back to the screenplay I abandoned half-finished at the back-end of May, when I was whizzing through my 6-page-per-day target almost non-stop. My birthday upset the balance at the end of the month, and then my prolonged “outage” set me even further adrift. Now, I seem to find excuse after excuse to avoid putting myself in front of the screen to finish off a piece of work I’m actually pretty happy with.
Last week didn’t help, turning as it did into one of those run away weeks which sweep you up from the start and end up dumping you at the weekend with hardly a moment’s pause for breath (paradoxical, I suppose, since I have hardly any breath to pause for) . An aborted call in the middle of things didn’t help, but I honestly could not tell you whether or not the last three days really did have their full 24 hours or if someone decided to switch us on to fast forward for a little while.
You know the sort of thing I mean: when you go to bed on Monday, wake up in the morning and it’s Sunday and although you know you’ve been busy all week you can’t for the life of you think of the things you’ve done.
So it was hardly a struggle to continue to find reasons not to get back to my desk, although I’m getting pretty good at that now.
It started innocently enough as a case of writer’s block – reaching a mid-point in the story which needed a kick and not being able to work out where it should come from. I can’t, however, really cling to that as a reason not to have confronted it in the last couple of weeks, since I sorted that problem out in my head a good couple of Monday’s back.
It is much more a case of the intrusion of the “Mañana Manner” on my writing habits: I can’t possibly start writing today, I’ve got to finish this chapter of my book first. I can’t possibly start writing today, it’s the middle of the week and I shan’t be able to write tomorrow, so what’s the point in getting into the swing of things, just to lose the flow again? I can’t possibly write today, it’s nearly the weekend. I can’t possibly write today, it’s Sunday. I can’t possibly write today, there’s a small black-and-white dog lurking outside my study window. I can’t possibly write today, the sun isn’t quite bright enough to echo the mood of the piece I’m trying to create and I’m not going to be able to find the right “zone”.
It’s remarkable how creative one can be in forcing oneself not to be creative.
What’s more, it amused me as I thought these things through to myself as I washed-up (yes, washed-up – if that’s not a sign of improvement, I don’t know what is) that for someone who can procrastinate so spectacularly well around doing something I’m passionate about, how is it possible that I manage to park my butt in front of my computer to bang out nearly 1,000 words of blog most days of the week? I think my priorities may be a little skewed….
Still, the most important thing is that you’ve got something to read to waste 5 minutes of your day. After my transplant I’ll have plenty of time to do things for myself, for now I choose to put you, dear reader, first. I’m that sort of a giving kind of person, me.