Back on board – thinking planning for writing

Hey there. It’s been a while. Longer than I expected. I meant to check in with a seasonal greeting weeks ago. It was part of my all-planned-and-ready-to-go list…and I missed it. Now the news shows that the world is bruised and anxious. I know our challenges and sorrows don’t just stop because a calendar ticks over. Even so, the New Year is a marker that reminds us that we can begin again. I hope it’s not too late to hope for good things and to share compliments of the season and best wishes for the year ahead.

I hope the year improves for everyone. I hope 2015 treats you well. I wish you and your loved ones all the best.

Lime tree dressed for Christmas
Bright and shiny

Wrapping up 2014

Like a lot of people, I find myself frantic in December. Fortunately, my family has been taking a calmer, more measured approach to the festive season in recent times. We haven’t quite gotten it down to brown paper packages yet, but we’re on our way.

Brown paper package
A favourite thing

Simplifying the festivities makes everything easier to deal with.

It also happens that I have a December birthday. It tends to get lost in the lead up to the 25th, which is ok. I keep the celebrations low key. I may have indicated before that I find birthdays a good time for personal reflection. Dinners and cake and the like are a bonus. I’m a fan of a bit of quiet time with a few special people. On this last birthday, I was in Melbourne with a friend for her graduation and we didn’t quite manage cake that day. (I must hasten to add that there was cake later in the week. It was exquisite.) Did I mention I was going to Melbourne? I don’t think I did. I should have. I love Melbourne. Really. It’s one of those places that feels right.* I meant to post once or twice while I was there. I wandered around the CBD snapping the occasional photo and ducking into cafes to jot down ideas.  I made some plans but, in the end, I couldn’t settle to commit myself to drafting out the content. I find committing to the page can be tricky.

Breathe

The hiatus of the past six weeks hasn’t just been because of the festive season and jaunting about the place. I also really just needed a break. I’ve had ‘bigger’ years than 2014. I’ve certainly had more traumatic years that the last turned out to be. Despite that, I found that I really needed to stop. I was so tired by the time I got on the plane to go to Melbourne I was barely lucid. While I was away I played with some writing in fits and starts. It’s not the writing I expected to do but I hope it will be useful at some point. Most of all, it was good to take some time to just breathe. That said, it was hard to switch off. I am hopeless when it comes to checking work emails, for example. Even on holiday on the other side of the country I was trying to take photos on my phone in between checking emails and responding to meeting requests… Hopeless. One of the things I love about Melbourne is that walking is such a good option. It is true that I kept finding myself walking to bookshops and the State Library but I’m ok with that!

La Trobe Reading Room at State Library of Victoria
Light and air

Libraries and bookshops are important elements in holidays in my world. I spent some time being very happy near the poetry shelves in the La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria. There were familiar volumes just nearby.   It was a calm, beautiful space. I had looked forward to my time there for weeks before arriving. What more could I want? I could have spent more time just hanging out in the reading room. In the end, I was lured outside by the promise of independent bookstores and the temptation of a possible return to coffee.** As far as weaknesses go, I don’t think I’m doing too badly.

Hitting the books

Obviously, I can only imagine what the year 2015 has in store. I’m still working on setting some goals for myself. There’s plenty to be done, as always, with the day-job (I have a new contract, by the way…yay!) and family. I also have plans – big plans – for writing and for reading. There will be more writing. There will be more reading. I’m sure I can work it in to the schedule I’ve drawn up. Books feature everywhere I look, to be honest. To start with, I’ve been working on sorting my home library over the past week or so. I’ve become quite adept at assembling flat pack furniture in the past few years. Now I’m trying to work out how to arrange books on the new shelves. It is taking longer than I hoped and has become something of a mission.

It probably shouldn’t be as hard as it is turning out to be. I’m probably over-thinking the question of where to put particular texts.

Certainly, I know that there is plenty of study to be done in 2015. I finally made it back to the library at uni today. It felt like it had been closed for ages. It hasn’t. It was only for a few weeks and I could have gone earlier this week but…other things, other plans, various responsibilities, the (wow, wasn’t that a good one!) Big Bash League Perth Scorchers v Brisbane Heat game on Thursday… TODAY was LIBRARY day.

View of UWA Arts building weather vane
In the bright quiet

The day dawned bright and sunny (then, again, every day in Perth seems to dawn bright and sunny at the moment…summer tends to come across as relentless…). Packing my bag for the day (afternoon, in fact, because it is still vacation and the library opening hours are limited) was a joy. It felt good to be back. There was hardly anyone around and the library was quiet. I found some material that I think will be useful. I even managed to stay focused on the list I’d prepared. Is it just me that finds tangents tempting when the catalogue just unfurls with the flick of a switch in front your eyes?

I should possibly confess, at this point, to jumping from drawer to drawer when using the card catalogue decades ago. Tangents are not a new thing for me…

In amongst all the ‘not-writing- time’ I’ve spent over the past few weeks, I’ve managed to work out some of the questions I want to focus on. Most of all, I’ve worked out that there’s an awful lot to do. Tangents are not likely to be helpful. I’m planning on making 2015 a year of being organised. Any tangent chasing needs to be scheduled and mindful. I’m wondering whether the image of the simply wrapped parcel will be useful to carry with me.

I need to minimise distractions. I need to keep things simple. I need to not fuss.

If I can do that, I think I will be on the way to making the year a good one.   *This feeling of ‘right’ places is important to me. I might try to explain it one day. Or, perhaps, it’s for a poem… **I haven’t had a coffee for nearly three years. (Just two or three weeks to go until I get to the three year mark…) I don’t know why I was tempted. I don’t miss it that much on a day-to-day basis.

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