Of course, the titles to these blogs don’t necessarily mean anything beyond what is in my head by the time the page finishes loading. This time it was the theme tune of a programme on Radio 4 – I forget which – so there it is. Enjoy.
I have missed a week, haven’t I? I did consider, briefly, rushing out a new post to fill in the gap but everything was getting so tangled and tortured and well, angry, that I decided a week off was probably a good idea and so far, I am congratulating myself on being right. 😉
I also went home last weekend – cue a tearful reunion with my winter coat – it was lovely to be home but it feels right to be back and the thought that I might have to leave again to d this PGCE, was not a great one. Of course I have no doubt that I could make it work – I have set myself up in new towns quite often so there’s no reason that I can’t do it again but I am tired of moving. I am rather aware that every time it looks like I might finally have cleared the way to get on with writing I am seized by the need to do something constructive, something “proper”. It occurred to me, sitting in the airport on the way back to Germany, that if I signed myself up to another course, it would probably delay the writing of the sequel to Healed, a book I can’t stop “watching” in my head even though I’ve got another one currently “up on blocks” and needing work. That bothers me, as does the fact that I don’t ever want to teach in schools. Always that sense of obligation. Anyway, someone else who knew something of what I had in mind, got hold of me this week and said, basically, “stop being sensible!” Now people don’t usually say things like that. They usually nod at sensible suggestions and say, “I’m sure you’re right”, especially when it touches on things concerning employment and – why be coy? – money. This person had in fact managed to put into rather succinct words exactly what had been bothering me and so I have decided to do… absolutely nothing. I am simply going to stand still.
So straight back from England I had an hour and a half’s training with a new language school. I booked an afternoon off work to do it and another afternoon for the second session on Friday so I was rather annoyed to find that both sessions covered exactly the same material – apparently for the benefit of the chap who hadn’t turned up to the first one. Then there’s the scheduling session. Now the way my week currently works is that I have two fixed appointments with one company and the other sends me a schedule every week with their lessons – which I can confirm or refuse. This place wants me to tell them which days I can give -with the justification that I will know that whatever job I am given I will have permanently. Well OK, I think, let’s not be too awkward about this, you want the work after all. So I pluck three weekdays out of the air – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Immediately they seize upon the days I haven’t offered and are only mollified when I explain that on the days I have offered I am available from 8am. So I am booked in to teach at an IT company in Bad Godesburg on Monday night. While he moves on to the tall American I’ve just trained with, I sit looking at the diary entry – my own handwriting committing me to 90 minutes in Bad Godesburg every week on Monday for the foreseeable future when I suddenly remember that I am planning to go back to German lessons after Christmas and I am more than likely to be in the Monday to Wednesday class. When I point this out to the man behind the big desk, he is irritated, “Can’t you do anything about the German course?” Well, no not really, you have to go when the class is on. I then point out that I had said I could be free all day and that I am much better at 6am than at 6pm (which is probably true but there is currently no one who could attest to that fact). He is clearly put out. “That is very unusual” his tone suggests it is also unreasonable. I try to explain that I am on my own all day, the evenings are when I meet people. If I were to cancel everything to work I would see no one. He is unmoved. He still thinks I am being difficult. But of course this man is married. He can have no concept of solitude. He probably understands it as an evening when he wife is out; or, home before her, that half hour of bell-like silence before a key in the door then “Hello, darling, how was your day? Did you remember to buy milk?” He can have no idea of how it feels to see no one all day; how it feels to be so sick of the sound of silence that you speak to yourself out loud just for the pleasure of conversation (I can now do this in three languages – not all conversations are equal) and yet how wonderful, how joyous to have a day to yourself to write when you know that you will be among friends later. He cannot appreciate this; he sees only his uncompleted schedule and a categorical imperative refused. It had been such a good day too. I had had a lovely lesson with my nice one-to-one student, I thought I’d pop in for the training and then go and buy concert clothes for choir. Never have I ever come out of a training session in actual panic. I took my bike with me out of Marktplatz but was in such a state that when I’d done my shopping and calmed down I couldn’t remember where I’d left the bloody thing. I had to walk all around Munster Platz looking for it. I went home and told the school no. Difficult – well, not that difficult – it was simply writing an e-mail and hitting “send”, but the thing about freelancing is that you feel you must take everything that is offered for fear the work you have will dry up. Ah, but that’s what they want you to think, it’s still no excuse for being sensible.