Spread my wings

The last five weeks, essentially lockdown August, averaged 53 hours of work per week, close to my 2020 target of 54 hours. That’s the positive news, and positive it is, because we all know that the ennui of a pandemic can grip the spirit. But the negative news is that mostly I focused on writing stuff that isn’t my albatross book. In 2020 I should be spending about three quarters of my cloistered work time on the book Reactor, namely 42 hours a week. Well, my five weeks’ book efforts averaged out to only 23 hours a week. Even allowing for a middle August week where I got distracted onto another project and only managed 4 hours on the book, I’m not happy with where I am.

As I write this, gum trees sway in a blue Spring sky, Red Wattlebirds spear the air, the new album from Bright Eyes graces my workspace, and all of Melbourne awaits premier Dan Andrews and his “roadmap” for what must be done to surmount this pandemic. Will Stage 4 lockdown cease in a week as originally hoped? What of the next weeks? The rest of Spring? Summer? Can we go see our grandchildren in Rosebud, Sydney, and Darwin, any time soon? Will non-Zooming people whoop back into our lives?

Great uncertainty in my working environment … which is to say, how I live in the world … I flex my shoulders and lift my head high. Surely I can and must make change gears! Angel Olsen sings on her new album: “I stretch my bones out on the floor / I think I’ll really do the change.” Without really knowing what the “roadmap” will bring, I resolve to hit 42 hours/week of Reactor drafting in each of the next four weeks, beginning tomorrow, Monday the 7th.

More: Angel Olsen (in the same song, “Whole New Mess”) croons a chorus, “Make a whole new mess again.” That’s what I’ll do, I’ll slap messes out, I’ll go for broke. Bring on September, I say.

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