Tuesday, 23 June 2009

I Blame Parkinson

What do you call the force that makes everything happen at once as soon as a writer sits down to begin a new novel?

I wish that was the start of a joke but it's an actual question. It seems a bit obvious to blame Sod or Murphy...maybe it's Parkinson I should point the finger at. Parkinson said:

"Work expands so as to fill the time
available for its completion."

What's that you say? It's not Michael Parkinson but some naval historian who penned sixty books and therefore might have known what he was talking about in this context? Yeah yeah, well I couldn't find a photo of him, and just look at the joy on Michael's face up there, it's as if he's enjoying the force of evil he's created against struggling novelists (okay, I know the photo is very small but that just proves my point - I wasted a whole five minutes trying in vain to resize it when I could have been WRITING MY NOVEL!).

Ever since I tweeted something incredibly banal like "Just about to start new novel" (you can follow my banality by clicking on the Twittery-icon to your right, if you like), the Evil Force has come up with the following philosophical challenges:

- TIME... The tragic end to The Boy's daytime naps, zapping that blissful hour and a half I had every weekday to...check Facebook, check Twitter, check all writer forums, rinse and repeat, and then do some actual real-life writing.

- SPACE... Eviction! Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic, but we do have 60 days to find a new home, in a brand new area, that fulfills all of our many and varied expectations.

- CONFLICT... A picture book that has bounced back and forth between an editor and I so many times I fear it's going to run off to a shelter for battered books.

- EVEN MORE CONFLICT... The War Against Fairy Bread. This might not sound serious, but when I read this article sent to me by "a friend" who is possibly hinting that I fall under the "creative gymkhana classes" and Nutrition Nazi category of mums, it was all I could think about. The line has been drawn in the 100s and 1000s and I need to decide where I stand. For or against fairy bread? How can I possibly start my new novel when all this is going on?

Michael Parkinson, damn you for making my Tweet a lie. Well, I'm not falling for your games any more - you've had your fun. My main character is threatening to change her entire fictional raison d'ĂȘtre if I haven't given her a voice, a screwed-up family and a love interest by the weekend. With jokes.

Official deadlines. I love 'em.

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Fionnuala Kearney said...

Emily, that post is a novel in itself. I chuckled all the way through! Dont envy you the house search though....dont you have any Phil and Kirstie types over there?! x

CarolineG said...

Maybe the solution is to offer some fairy bread to Michael Parkinson? Can;'t hurt, can it?

KatW said...

You make me giggle - great post! I never knew that Parkie was the evil behind procrastination - thanks for enlightening me. Lol.

As someone who has moved many more times than she wishes she had - I sympathise with the house hunt stress & send you lots of lucky wishes so that you get the most amazing house & soon. Our last move was a true blessing that I'm still thankful for. Hope you have a positive experience too.

Kat :-)