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Thursday, January 26th

January 26, 2017

When I first started this, it was easy to keep track of which day it was. The plan was to write something for at least fifteen minutes every day for six weeks – forty-two days. I started it on November 1st. November has 30 days so days 31-42 were simply the first twelve days of December. As I said, easy. When I started up again in January (having slipped back into bad habits when no one was watching me), I began with “Day 1 (again)” to make the point – to myself, if no one else – that I starting again from scratch. I’m beginning to lose track, especially now when Dickhead has me writing rants instead of diary entries. So, let’s just go with the date, eh?

Anyway, anyway…

I am truly blest with my friends. A few days ago I received a mysterious email from my friend Irmani in London, who informed me that “a little something” was on its way. Said something would require a signature, so she was crossing her fingers that I would be home. The little something arrived yesterday. Hardly little. A case (yes, that’s right, a case) of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc. Twelve bottles of my favourite wine. Oh My God!

I had been hoarding the last two bottles of my birthday appeal wine, saving them for a special occasion. I decided a visit from my friend Catherine counted as exactly that. As I pulled the last bottle out of the rack that weekend, I did wonder when the rack would ever see another decent bottle. The rack holds six bottles. I think I’m okay for a while.

And on the same day there was a parcel pick up notice in my post box: Not one, but two books from my Amazon wish list also sent by Irmani. Blimey. Such kindness, such generosity. I am rather overwhelmed.

One of the books she sent was the latest Stephen King novel. She is a great fan. So was Mike. I don’t know which Stephen King novel I read and didn’t much like decades ago, but whichever one it was caused me to dismiss him as nothing more than a shlock horror writer. Mike’s keenness mystified me, as did Irmani’s when I learnt of it.

I mention this because after Mike died his son told me he wanted Mike’s books. Fair enough, I suppose. (He’d already insisted I hand over Mike’s Apple laptop, possession in this case apparently being nil tenths of the law.) Mike was a great reader of sci-fi, a genre which has never appealed to me, so I felt no sense of loss as I packed up all those books. Nor, at the time, did I resent handing over all (and I do mean all) the Stephen Kings. Of course, since Irmani managed to convince me to give King a second chance, I do regret that decision, not least because I can’t imagine Mike’s son ever opening any of the books he’d been sent.

Anyway, anyway…

A sad news day yesterday. And, no, I’m not talking (although I feel I should be ranting) about the anti-immigrant executive orders flying off Dickhead’s desk like a plague of locusts. I’m talking about the death of Mary Tyler Moore. Much was made on the news yesterday of the pioneering nature of her 1970s sitcom and I suppose it did break ground. An unmarried thirty-year-old woman who was more interested in her career than in finding a husband! Could this be the end of the nuclear family? Hardly. Sweet, deferential Mary was never going to lead a revolution. I had higher hopes for her acerbic friend Rhoda, who let me down by spinning off into her own series and almost immediately getting married. As someone who’d been raised by a single mother, I’d never seen marriage as one of life’s necessities. How much bolder it would have been for Rhoda to have simply lived – and had fabulous sex – with her man. Now that would have been ground breaking.

For me the legacy of Mary Tyler Moore isn’t the characters she played, but the shows her production company created. Quite a few of them were reasonably witty sitcoms, but there were two dramas that really shone. For the left-leaning, newsroom drama Lou Grant and the truly ground breaking Hill Street Blues, I thank her. RIP, Mary.

I should probably stop here. Places to go, things to do, don’t you know. But that’s the point. I’m having trouble getting shit done. I get up and write for at least an hour and that’s good – depending on when I get up. My recently mentioned binge-watching of Line of Duty notwithstanding, I’ve got to start going to sleep earlier. If I read until 2am (which I often do), I don’t wake up until 10am at the earliest. Some days I end up writing for two hours. Nothing wrong with that, but then I discover it’s noon and I haven’t had breakfast. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (rehearsals and pool with my neighbour) I have to be somewhere at 2pm. Where is the time to go to the gym? I don’t like going at 4pm, because (thank you, winter months) that means it will be dark by the time I get home. And where is the time to polish the furniture and wash the kitchen floor and get the pile of filing beside my desk into the filing cabinet? Why can’t I find the time to get any of that done?

Actually, I know the answer to that question: fucking internet backgammon. I tell myself it’s not stupid fucking spider solitaire. I tell myself  I’ll only play one game when I get back from rehearsals or my pool game. Yet somehow two hours go by. Two hours when I could be filing or dusting. Two wasted hours of my life. Two hours (or more) of my life that I will never get back. Okay, I’ve done it. I’ve admitted my lapse. And now that I’ve admitted it, I have to make myself stop. Watch this space.

Ending on a brighter note, I sent the link to yesterday’s rant to a friend of mine who edits a magazine. I just thought she’d enjoy it. She emailed back to ask if she could reprint it. Absolutely, I told her. My pleasure. The magazine is run on a shoestring budget. There will be no payment for running my piece. What there will be is my first by-line in a long time.

That, combined with the unexpected arrival of two books and a crate of wine, made for an unexpectedly good day.

One Comment
  1. janeshead permalink

    Who the fuck wants to dust or file? Of COURSE one plays internet games instead. Pretty much no matter what the other option is, it’s better than dusting and filing.

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