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Tag: room of one’s own

Pith helmets of their own

Pith helmets “There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall.” Cyril Connolly
I don’t have a pram in the hall, but I do have a dozen pith helmets. These are my enemy. Or so I tell myself. I don’t write, I say, because, as Virginia Woolf complains in A Room of One’s Own, we women never have half an hour that we can call our own. There’s the school run (twice a day), meal times (three times a day, if you count packed lunches), washing (four times a week), home work (once a week), fighting about time spent playing computer games (seven times plus a week), cleaning (depends if I’m wearing my glasses or not). That’s the bare minimum of the Mummying. Then there’s being a wife/partner/home maker/lover (hah). And then the professional working woman, which goes alongside being a functional member of society with clean hair on your head and no hair any where else. And friends, everyone likes to have friends. And friendships for your child – these need to be enabled and cultivated through play dates and the PTA and joint trips to amusements.
However, its not all this that is the problem. It’s not the physical time that’s the problem. Anyone can find half and hour, even an hour, to put pen to paper. It’s the absence of space in my head that’s the problem. In just the few moments after I woke up this morning, I covered: how do you make an explorer themed cake, green like a jungle or yellow like a sandy island, or is that too piratey? What does it mean if the school don’t realise that my son is better at ICT than art? Will he be ok in a class without his best friend next year? Can I get that tea cosy finished before we go on holiday? When should I start packing? How much can I advance plan the school winter fair to avoid organisation clashing with course assignments in November? Should I wait for feedback from my client on case studies on the Mental Capacity Act or have a go at making them up? Is there any milk left for breakfast? Is there enough in the bank account to pay for the shopping? And do I have enough pith helmets?
This stream of thoughts and worries carries on all day. Where is the room in my brain for creative writing, creative thinking, for my story? It’s in there, but crammed at the back under all this other stuff (a bit like the hoover in the cupboard under our stairs). Perhaps therein lies the answer: worry less and get on with it. Whenever I need to hoover (note need not want), I have to dig the thing out of the cupboard. Every time I do it, I think about how much the cupboard needs tidying. And then I shove the hoover back in. I need to stop thinking about some things in order to make some space for my writing. (Is there a mixed metaphor in there? I don’t know. I don’t care! Hah!)
So, as of Sunday I am going to practise ignoring the debris in my head in order to find some space to write. Why Sunday? Because on Saturday I will be running my child’s birthday party and it will be a birthday party to go down in the annals of birthday parties (the annals that exclude entry to any parent who can afford to pay for a circus or Justin Fletcher). There will be home sewn party bags containing educational toys and a book on explorers created by me, jungle food, handmade bunting, inflatable jungle animals, codes to break, games to develop explorer skills and, oh yes, little explorers in pith helmets. Is it maybe possible that I’m directing my creative energies in the wrong direction?