Wednesday, 28 December 2011


I came across this quotation from Morton Feldman (who I meant to google, knowing nothing of him, but forgot) somewhere on the internet.

So I stamped it in my journal (with Christmas gift stamping kit!) and pondered.

I don't need to pursue anxiety, it follows me around like a starving dog. So, I'm lucky, I have plenty of material for my art. I just need to stroke it, and maybe give it a sausage, and then get to work.

I'm thinking of advertising my services as a cleaning lady as I need to earn money but want to keep my mind free to work on the second draft of my novel. New Year's Resolution #1: get the bloody book back on track.

I need to get my second book properly underway, too, so that's NYR #2, and learn Latin. I have a teach yourself book somewhere, NYR #3: locate it and spend half an hour a day on it. I wonder if half an hour's enough?

Stevie doesn't think I'll make it as a cleaner because my marketing skills are impossibly bad. But I'm not sure much more than a card in the newsagent's window is required. Of course, that might be because my marketing skills are impossibly bad.


Elisabeth said...

And I thought I had it hard, Eryl. To have to take on a cleaning job to survive is tough stuff indeed. And then of course your writing suffers.

I loathe the way artists/writers are forced to lead double lives to survive and yet it's the tension between this, between the art/writing and the surviving that is part of the creativity.

I also agree with your wonderful quote here. As one of my writing mentors, Barbara Turner Vesselago says, 'You have to write into your anxiety. Write what makes you sweat.'

Eryl said...

Elisabeth ~ this is the problem of living in rural Scotland, there are very few jobs to choose from. If we lived in a city I'd be a waitress. Or a barmaid. I do need to do something manual that doesn't use up mental energy. The problem with teaching, which is what I have been doing, is that you can't leave it in the classroom. Student needs take up so much time and thought.

Your writing mentor's words are going on my wall, and in my journal. Thanks, Elisabeth.

GlamorousGirl said...

Nice post! Merry Christmas!


Pat said...

Cleaning is fine - as long as you don't wear yourself out. Or ironing - lots of people would happily pay to have ironing done. I do most of my thinking whilst ironing which is prior to actually writing.
Horses for courses but for me anxiety - a natural state - is destructive and my last year's resolution to give up fear has paid dividends although maybe the writing has fallen fallow and become less of a priority.
Interesting. Is it that there are more important matters to concern me or is it just fecklessness?

Pat said...

As for marketing skills - just smile honey.

The Weaver of Grass said...

There's no harm in making resolutions Eryl - the trouble is that when they fall by the wayside we feel so guilty - so maybe it is better not to make them in the first place. Good luck with the novel though.

Lulu LaBonne said...

Interesting - my last year has been so steeped in anxiety that my resolution is to find ways to slough it off, a cleaning job is one of my possible solutions - a lovely straightforward activity one could do a lot worse.

You've come a long way with that first book out of the starting gate, give yourself several back pats for that.

Have a wonderful 2012 Eryl xxx

The Pollinatrix said...

Your journal is sooooo lovely.

My daughter is contemplating taking on a cleaning job also. I applaud you both, but I have a hard enough time keeping my own place clean.

I really like the idea that your art is carnivorous :)

Eryl said...

Glamorous Girl ~ thank you!

Pat ~ I would happily pay someone to do my ironing too! But I quite like cleaning.

You have had far more important matters to deal with of late, something has to give.

Weaver ~ guilt, thankfully, is something I've managed to purge myself of. So my resolutions are more about things I'd like to have a go at than things I feel I must achieve at any cost. I'm itching to get back to my book and as soon as I've marked this last batch of student papers I'll begin, as long as I can create the headspace I need to do so.

Lulu ~ if you're thinking of going into the cleaning business it must be cool. Suddenly I feel rather chi-chi!

Polli ~ I am hoping cleaning other people's houses will be easier than doing my own, due to the lack of distractions. To clean this house I have to drag myself away from fun stuff like stamping things in my journal.

MITM said...

Take solace in the truth......


Eryl said...

Thank you for this MITM, I feel much better now. I just have to hope the only things I have in common with David Shields is writing and surname.

Kim Ayres said...

Woody Allen's made an entire career out of his anxiety.

Meanwhile, does baking take up valuable thought space? Home baking stalls can net a few extra quid - and you're not short of skill in that area

Eryl said...

Now that's not a bad idea, Kim, I will explore it. Baking is one of my therapies.

alphawoman said...

It is terrific to see you are blogging again! Love your jnl. Your handwriting is so neat! I was scribbling away at a traffic light this morning w/o my glasses, so you can imagine the shape mine ends up! Happy New Year.

Eryl said...

Alphawoman ~ it's terrific to be blogging again! Happy New Year to you, too.