So, it’s December. Already. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that life appears to speed up as you get older. The sense of anticipation, the wonderful fossil-in-amber feeling of suspended time between the nows and the longed-fors that I had as a child never seem to occur these days. Life just slips through my fingers like sand, and I am left at the end of a week, wondering how it can possibly be Sunday already all over again.
One of the many joys of being a teacher is that no day is ever the same, but unfortunately each day is also a manic maelstrom of activity that sucks you in as soon as you step over the threshold at 8am and doesn’t spit you out again until late in the evening, when you emerge, slightly shaken, slightly confused, and wondering where the day went, and why you still have a pile of marking on your desk. Of late I have been consumed with a feeling of great restlessness and dissatisfaction, and I think part of that is due to my job. I make 101 bad decisions every day, and always finish lessons wishing I had said this, or hadn’t said that, or had tried that instead, or had spent more time helping that child, or not been so harsh with that child. The speed of the day, and the pressure of having to perform in front of a class of children of any age from 11 up to 18 on the hour, every hour means that I have precious little time to really consider what I am doing until I have done it, and then I find myself in agonies of regret and full of plans to do better next time, which invariably fail because once again I didn’t have time to think properly before I was forced into action. This cycle of feeling generally useless, exhausted and guilty has felt rather relentless, and it is really quite wearing ending every day contemplating on being a bit of a failure at life. It’s been one of those months. I blame the darkness. T.S.Eliot definitely had it wrong when he said April was the cruellest month.
Reading has gone out of the window, because I’m finding it really hard to concentrate on anything. I’ve spent plenty of lovely weekends doing interesting things in London, but I can’t find the energy or the creativity to write about them. All of my spare brain capacity is going into the writing of my novel, which is finished, but I am now going through the soul-destroying process of editing, and self-doubt is proving incredibly corrosive to my confidence. I have come close to deleting the whole thing on several occasions, but I manage to pull myself back from the brink each time. I really don’t know how real writers do it. So, this is just to say, I suppose, that I am here…just about, but you’ll probably have to wait until the Christmas holidays before you get anything like a decent post out of me. Hopefully I’ll have cheered up by then. Marilynne Robinson’s Lila is beautiful, by the way. Put it on your Christmas lists. A few lines of Marilynne every night is just about keeping me sane at the moment.