When you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills...

posted on: Saturday, 23 April 2016

Getting back to things. Why is it that I fall out of the rhythm of life so easily? I pretty much had a month off writing, although I tell myself that is what 'writers' do, I am dimly aware that in order to be a writer, you have to write. I find myself making excuses when the kids are around for the holidays; endless pickups and drop-offs are not conducive to creative thought. Instead I turned to audio books, listening to stolen moments as I go about my day, always thinking about writing but just not doing it.

I returned to college yesterday to see my tutor and realised it's not that hard to get back on the bandwagon, I just need to get on and do it. That old procrastination is always there in me and I now need to banish it. I have just over a month to finish the first draft of the book song with a couple of critical essays and hand in year one of my Masters! OMG. Remember when this was just a glint in my eye? Remember when I used to say 'yea, I'm gonna write a book one day' and everyone nodded at their screens and thought 'yuh-huh, get on with it...'? I see that actually I had to get over myself and start studying and making this a priority and so here I am, at the corner of bucket list and academic resurgence central.

And the book - people ask what it's about. I say 'life', glibly. It's about families and marriage, adultery and love, mothers and fathers, adolescence and innocence. It's about choices and envy. All sorts...

Meanwhile, it's summer term, implausibly my son starts cricket and my daughter is playing rounders today. Being back at school works for all of us, although we complain and spend a lot of time looking forward to the next holiday. We are going back to Florida in the summer - again - and this makes me happy every time I think of it. I am reading a short story by John Updike where he observes how American friends move to England and talks about my country's muddy, gloomy grey demeanour and how charming it is, how different. The funny stodgy food we eat. The Britishness of it all. And I think my equivalent is the Florida palm tree. Give me a fake flamingo stirrer in my glass, a view over some sun-kissed water and a fish taco and I am replete.

There's a subtle hint at warmer weather and so it's time to remove the layers of coats and scarves and venture out from winter hibernation.

We have now been back in our house for six months and so in daily life, it has become more normal, I absorb the choices we made and think: yes I am pleased with that tile or no, that wood has not darkened as I expected etc. I can say that given we took so damn long to renovate this house (2+ years) I did think long and hard about the choices and am generally very happy. The best investment was ceiling speakers which afford nightly kitchen music playing of all sorts; of course it was Prince this week. I was so sad to hear he'd gone; he was the soundtrack to my youth.

I am pleased with the bold white patio, the white walls, the white kitchen...if in doubt go white. But the best times are when the sun floods in on a Saturday morning like this and cast shadows across the floor. The puppy basks in it and I think back to the slimy, oil-leaking, ugly monstrosity that our house was and conclude it was worth it.

by my fave jessica cooper


  1. Looking forward to your future book! If I could possess any skill, it would be to be able to write a novel. What an admirable capability. While perusing your site, I came upon the new interior design. Very pretty, very Scandinavian looking. My family also is close to the moving into a new house process. It's contemporary style that's designed to blend with nature with plenty rustic warm-hued wood furniture and open space. But I secretly dream of owning one of those fairytale cottages; thatched roof, misshapen chimney, tiny stone pathway, the whole bit. My family and I travel to Aruba and Croatia annually, and I naturally enjoy myself while there as the tropics are always a marvel to behold, picturesque and pretty. However, regrettably I find the heat stifling. I either must be in the shade or in the water at all times. It's only when I retreat to the woods of my native Poland that I really feel in my element. There is something magical, mystical and curative about the forest- even without my storybook little house.

  2. First, let me say that I am always up to date on your blog posts, even if it takes me a while to comment.

    Second, I totally know what you mean about the rhythms of life and how easy it is to get off track. I am easily distracted.

    I am so incredibly impressed by your courage in taking the step towards getting your masters and writing a book. I love all your words, so I am looking forward to reading them in book form. I loved your thoughts on imagining life when we get older, too. I will need something to do as well - not just to occupy my time, but also to occupy my mind and my thoughts. I am looking forward to daily yoga, though. :-)

    I will admit I do smile at your "Britishness", especially when you use words that I don't understand. (What is rounders?!) That said, I'm pretty happy in the sunshine with a drink in my hand and sand in my toes, too. I grew up on the coast of North Carolina, which is not quite Florida, but still has some gorgeous and warm beaches. I am home in New England, but I do miss the beach.

    And Prince...what to say. We've lost several great ones this year, and this one hits closest to my heart. My Purple Rain album is on repeat.

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