We’ve just bought a superb desk, oak and nostalgically yellow as the half-remembered teacher’s desks from my secondary school. It’s big, heavy, solid. The elderly lady we’ve bought it from can hardly bear to part with it, shepherding our ultimately doomed efforts to maneouver the mass of it into the boot space we were sure was big enough, padding the boot lock with a towel to prevent scratches, apologising for the marks which already exist.

But it will not write anything for me. Just like Gunny won’t write anything for me. Just like our perfect, sun-struck studio at the foot of our garden won’t write anything for me. Given I’m finally getting some words out now, and remembering that I actually enjoy writing, I don’t want them to either.

What am I doing. I’ve not written anything but a smatter of posts recently, for one reason or another. I’m sat at work half asleep through the last few weeks – not because of lack of sleep or tiredness but because I simply cannot care, cannot concentrate on what I’m supposed to be doing here. It doesn’t matter.

What matters are our dreams for the future, our half-realised aspirations for another way of life, our hopes for a joint venture which doesn’t require me to ‘beg’ or ‘borrow’ but for my parents to see that I really am living as they’d always said I should, and how it’s simply not cricket for them to decide they didn’t mean it quite the way I’ve taken it.

My only fear is whether I’ll ever be able to manage two competing lives – my important, valuable life in our new village house, with my new wife and a life dedicated to making our dreams happen, our life passions become our life’s work, and the required, pay-the-bills workplace existence necessary to give a foundation for us to leap from into our preferred place… or something less tortured.

Basically, I get up and drive to work and sit at my desk for one reason: My life outside of Oxford with my wife. Which is perfect at 7am, getting out of bed. It’s fine at 8am, leaving home in the early chill, and it’s something I’m more than happy with during every moment of the 50-or-so minute commute between home and desk. Until I sit, I switch on, I rest my fingers on the keyboard, and all I can think of is writing.

Last week I tried writing a post to give myself a chance to concentrate on writing work – which I desperately need to do, and right now. It didn’t really work. Perhaps because I’ve been so unconnected to writing recently that a single post could never achieve the sort of wakey-wakey brain-space I need to care (even just a little) about a job I do simply (merely?) to pay the bills.

Of course that’s the lives of so many others, but I can’t escape the fact that our dreams are what they are principally because we have motivation to do best in what matters most to us, and when something doesn’t matter it’s very difficult to provide that task with anything but a seriously underpar level of effort and interest. Work makes me depressed, knowing I’m doing a bad job makes me depressed. Knowing this is all pathetic laziness is terribly depressing.

How to wrench myself out of this fug, this head-fog which hardly clears even during that homeward business-end of an hour commute. It’s not just writing now it’s cricket which is the master of the moments in my mind, both broadcast and my own practice and playing, and how can there be any room for work, for something I do not because of who I am but because I want to be able to be who I want to be?

Such spin-headed bullshit avoids the question – why can’t I get the fuck on and do the fucking job I’m being paid to do? Because I don’t care isn’t an answer it’s an excuse, and because it doesn’t matter is worse, is whining, is enough to give ammunition to anyone accusing me of being the sort of obstacle I loathe, the sort of blockade in the way who ought to move out and let someone with hunger, with enthusiasm, with energy get on with it.

Well, Christ. Put down the words I need to, as quickly as I can, and make space for the work I must do, as well as I can. Turn the fuck up, get the fuck on, finish the fucking job off and fuck off the fuck home. My decisions are my own, both bad, good and lazy-as-fuck. My decisions are my own. I am the master of my energy. Some things have to be paid for, and some bills ask for more than money. But after a weekend like I’ve had, it’s all worth it. Pay it, pay it, pay it. Wake the fuck up. Wake up and get on. Stop fucking whining. Do it. Do it.

About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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