I’m drinking cheap wine at my desk while Claire does a crossword in the loungeroom. Addy is supposed to be in bed, but is sitting in her doorway, reading books. There’s some music playing quietly on the stereo. This is, to be sure, a quiet Saturday night.
This morning I woke up early and went for a run. I don’t usually run on Saturdays, but it was quiet and still and I thought, why not? No one else had the same idea and so my route was quiet, no one to dodge, no one to nod good morning to – which means more time to think, to sink away from the physical exertion of it all, to fall into one’s head and ponder what, exactly, is going on.
In answer to that, not much is going on, at least from a writing perspective. No freelancing, no journalism, no criticism, no pitching, no story development, no back and forth with editors or PR folk or interviewees or tight-lipped PAs. This is fine, I accept publications are belt-tightening and indeed, reporting in the traditional sense is next to impossible at present, at least for someone like me who would typically spend hours, or even days, with people in the pursuit of a good yarn.
Elsewhere, The Book, while majority written, has ground to a halt as further research proves impossible given the travel restrictions, and the hope of finding a decent publisher grows dimmer the longer the economy is left to dwindle in the face of a global pandemic. And this is fine too, it’s understandable and to not put too fine a point on it, shit happens.
But I’m still frustrated. As I ran this morning, thinking more and more about it all, the more frustrated I became. I imagine this is true with anyone in any creative realm – the frustration, and this is how it is for me at the moment, of it not mattering.
Journalism gave my writing, to my mind, some point, some reason to be. The Book was the same, and so without them, as I write fiction and bits of oddball poetry and these Observations (which, as a writer, I need to do in order to maintain my sanity, regardless of whether or not I’m making any money from the endeavour), I’m wondering, as I jog across the local oval, onto the long path by the river into town, if there’s any point?
I’m also wondering if it’s any good. I’m wondering if I’m adding anything new or unique to anything, anywhere, and I’m wondering if I should hang it all up, and just work more hours at the bottleo (which, along with my wife’s job, is paying the bills, allowing me to write whatever the shit I want). I get more frustrated the further I run, and so I turn back earlier than I usually would in order to get home faster so’s I can stop thinking about it.
This might be construed as some ‘woe-is-me’ shit, and it is, but that’s not all it’s about. I know many people have it far tougher than I do, but this is what I do, and I’m questioning it and it’s frustrating the hell out of me. So I’m sitting at my desk drinking cheap wine, with some music in the background and the computer in front of me writing this.
Does this even matter? I don’t know, and that’s frustrating too.