how the nra got me writing again
Remember that scene in Dirty Dancing when Baby helps to carry a watermelon? And Johnny asks his cousin, “Hey cous, what’s she doing here?” and his cousin says “She’s with me” and Baby is all “I carried a watermelon… I carried a watermelon.” Here, let me refresh your memory.
I always thought that she meant “Dude, I only carried a watermelon, get over yourself.” But as I write this post (and I had to re-watch the scene, just to be sure), I think she meant “OMG! Johnny is so hot and I just totally embarrassed myself. I carried a watermelon? What was I thinking? Now he’ll never want to have sex with me.” Little does Baby know that some rumpy pumpy awaits her in the not-too-distant future.
Had she meant the watermelon comment the way I thought she meant it all these years, it would have been totally relevant to this story. It is now not.
All I did was innocently invite a couple girlfriends around for lunch. I cleaned the house and prepared a pitcher of water with slices of lemon and cooked roasted sweet potato soup made with homemade veggie broth. Yes, you can buy vegetable broth. Yes, you can even go a step easier and bouillon cube the shit out a soup but I went that extra mile, because I believed they were worth the effort.
We talked about everything. I really opened up, you know, in an effort to get down to the source of my fear of committing to a creative life. I had so many excuses. I deflected every suggestion, each little bit of advice, every ounce of encouragement, all the praise in the world with a fresh excuse. And then, over tea and mandarin muffins, the million dollar question. What if I said you have to write a blog post a week or donate $5 to the National Rifle Association. BAM!
All I did was carry a metaphorical watermelon and before I knew it, I’d been bullied into writing a weekly blog post. Never one to shy away from a challenge, in fact, generally needing one in order to get anything done, I took the bait. Maybe that’s what friends are for, maybe they are there to push you when you’re not strong enough to do it on your own. Maybe the bitches deserved the homemade vegetable broth after all.
That was last week. And since then, I’ve done what I normally do in preparation for a task. I did everything else except write a blog post, leaving that very task until now, mere hours to midnight on my first week’s deadline. I did a spring cleaning of thousands and thousands of photos, repaired the rain cover on my daughter’s pram, vacuumed between the cracks in the floorboards, organised my pantry, made a list of all the bands I’ve ever seen and sewed the buttons back on the duvet cover (is there anything more annoying than having a duvet poke out of its cover? – this was a very important and long-overdue task, friends, and I really don’t think I could have written a single word knowing that my duvet was up there, waiting to taunt me tonight).
Everything. but. the. task.
Part of the reason for this blatant procrastination is that the most exciting thing that happens to me these days is when Wren takes a morning poo before I’ve had a chance to change her nappy, meaning that I only have to change her nappy once, not twice (the second time usually being about 5-10 minutes after I’ve changed her first nappy… what can I say, the kid likes to poo in fresh nappies). Exhilarating stuff, but not necessarily blog worthy.
And the other reason that springs to mind is, when all the procrastinating is done, whenever will I find the time to write?
This morning, the answer arrived in my inbox, via the 3191 newsletter where Mav shared this thought:
“Is all of the downtime we used to have taken up by our smart phones? Do we grab them every time we have a pause in our day? Is the constant checking in with things like Facebook and Instagram (fun checking in but needless checking in nonetheless) making us feel like our day is more full?
Maybe try this: When you go to grab your phone in a free moment just don’t do it. Stop yourself.
I stopped myself from picking up my phone in down moments the other day and I did it 13 times! It sort of blew my mind. 13 instances at 4–5 minutes each … that’s about an hour! What did I do with those minutes before I had a smart phone?”
Maybe that’s where I find the time. Maybe I don’t need to check my emails and Instagram several times a day. Or maybe I don’t have to watch an episode of Gogglebox and Happy Valley in one sitting. Maybe the housecleaning can wait. Maybe I can pick up a book or a pen or sit in silence for a few minutes instead. Maybe I can write in 5 minute chunks. Maybe it doesn’t matter if what I write is solid gold or shit, so long as I write.
So there, no excuses. A blog post a week for the unforeseeable future… unless the duvet buttons pop off again.