“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.” Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R.Tolkien.
I’m tired. I might just be having one of those lulls in mood but all I know is, I’m tired. I feel as if, like Bilbo Baggins, I’m being stretched too thin. Too many self-imposed commitments that I don’t know how I’m going to manage to meet. I feel like I’ve been photocopied one too many times just so I can duplicate myself to juggle everything; the image getting poorer and more grainy on every copy (how d’you like that analogy, ey? I ought to be an author…oh…wait). And because I’ve too many fingers in too many different pies, I feel as though I can’t entirely focus on any of those…pies. Perhaps I ought to be writing a food blog. All this talk of pies is making me hungry. At least my appetite isn’t being affected by this weariness. So that’s something.
As you know, in my free time (free time? What’s that when it’s at home?), I’ve been on the final stretch of editing my second novel. People ask me all the time, ‘where did you find the time to write three books?’ And to be honest, I just don’t know. I must have stolen the time from other more deserving tasks. Or maybe I had more freedom some years back that I just don’t have now. Because I am really struggling to fit everything in at present. And I can’t help but feel something is about to go ‘ping‘ and snap. Perhaps I should feel pleased that an end is in sight as far as the book goes. But actually, I feel as though I’m stumbling at the final hurdle (and it isn’t even the final hurdle as there is a third book to edit after this). There’s this little voice in my brain which just won’t be quieted, ‘Why are you doing all this? Why are you working so hard to produce something that very few people are actually asking for? What are you getting out of this other than angst and a sense of burden?’. Shut up, little voice! Stop asking me searching and personal questions!
Actually, I think I do know why I carry on with this nonsense. I think I have this overwhelming need that just once in my life, I will actually complete something. If I got run over by a bus next week and I hadn’t put out all three books in my saga, then something would have been left undone. I mean, of course there are other reasons to fear being run over by a bus, I expect it isn’t a very pleasant way to go for one thing. And there would be a lot more at stake than a few silly, made-up books not being available on the virtual shelves of Amazon. Oh, the horror! There are loving family and friends and a mostly fulfilling life to consider. But however silly and pointless the dastardly ‘books’ may be to everybody else, they are important to me; they are my legacy. I have nothing else to leave behind, nothing else to be remembered for during my little stint on earth.
Maybe I’m just being a misery again (who, moi? Never!). It’s just, not being around anymore is a fear that is ever present in my mind – if only nestling discreetly right near the back. If you know me at all or have read this blog for long enough (I pity you, dear reader), you’ll understand why I worry more about my non-existence than perhaps is healthy or necessary. You know when you greet an old friend in the street and they ask how you are, and you answer, ‘I have my health’ (actually, you probably wouldn’t because nobody says that anymore)? Well, what if you didn’t have your health? What if all those tasks that you currently take for granted were simply too hard to undertake and you just didn’t have the energy to get things done? I do have my health right now – and whilst I do, I keep reminding myself that I need to make use of it.
Do you know what? If I could just complete my stupid little trilogy, I wouldn’t be all that bothered if I never wrote another thing. I’m not intending to or anything, but if I ground to a natural halt, there’d be nothing to be ashamed of. If I never came up with another idea, if I never wrote another book again – it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’d have done what I set out to do. I might carry on blogging; how else would I get the opportunity to annoy you on a weekly basis? And really, annoying you is what I live for! But at least one job would be ticked off the bucket list. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are other goals (nothing springs to mind right now, but I’m sure there are), but this is the big one for me. I’ve invested too much time and energy to give up on this. I just wish I wasn’t so weary of it all.
In spite of all the pessimistic stuff that has preceded this paragraph, I’ve always felt I’m just on the verge of something. I’ve absolutely zero evidence to base this on, but I have this feeling that something is just around the corner. Right now, it feels like a bloody big corner and maybe I’ve been entirely mistaken all this time, but what if that unattainable thing really is around the bend? I can’t stop now. I have to finish this thing I’ve started, even if it kills me. I’m certain I’m not the only one who feels like this, you may be going through something similar right now. You don’t need to be a writer to feel pulled in too many different directions. Life just asks too much of us sometimes, and we are precariously balancing everything; spinning plates, just trying to avoid fracturing the very fragile thing that is holding everything up. But some things must be wrapped up and concluded. They simply must come to an end. And I aim to get this done; and then maybe another dream on the bucket list will get a little bit of attention at last. I’ll just be careful to avoid wayward buses until then.
PS: Apologies for the bellyaching, I’m feeling much happier since writing this. I think I was a bit miffed as my one and only day off in the week (the only day I can write) was being dashed as I had to take my daughter to a gymnastics competition. I mean, it was worth it because the little star had a podium finish, but I spent many hours standing around a sweaty gym that smelled like feet (with nowhere to sit and no café). And my day of writing was wiped out, putting me behind. But I’m trying to see all that I have yet to do as a challenge rather than a chore. It’s a case of having to really…