Sunday, December 07, 2008

Enthusiasm

OK, so despite having a phone and internet access at home, I've not exactly been shouting my news from the rooftops here.

Or maybe I have, and you just don't live close enough to hear me. The wind can whip away even a loud voice when it's whistling up the valley. It's pretty scary up on the roof here, mind you. The house is three stories high at the back, and the roof is pitched surprisingly steeply. Given my vertigo, I'd probably be better off just making blog posts rather than risking life and limb to give voice to my thoughts. But, as you have noticed, I've been doing neither of late.

And the reason is a simple one: I have been having a hard time whipping up much enthusiasm for anything lately.

Now there's a couple of fairly obvious reasons for this. To say that 2008 hasn't been kind would be a bit like saying Hitler was a bit of a bully, really, but OK once you got to know him, and all that nonsense with the Jews was just a misunderstanding. But strange though it may be to say it, perhaps even a little heartless, the death of my parents is not the reason for my malaise. It weighs heavily on my mind, it's true, but there's nothing I can do about the facts. The opportunities now presenting themselves could lead me to a major life change, and yet it's a much as I can manage to drag myself out of bed of a morning.

Mr Stuart knows a little of my foot-dragging. Recently he very kindly gave me in depth feedback on my latest novel, and told me little I could disagree with. But I was so wrapped up in ennui that it took me a long time to accept the truth of what he was saying. I know now what I have to do to get the book published, but I haven't written anything in months, and whenever I do try to sit down and think things through, I soon give up. It's easier to watch telly, read a book, go to bed a little early and sleep.

House renovations have reached a virtual standstill since I finished fitting the bath, too. There's a huge list of things to do, and the sheer size of it just makes me want to run away, hide my head under a blanket. The days when I would get home from work and then spend a couple of hours making things, painting things, planning things, seem long gone. I am, in short, tired of the whole thing. Dog tired.

But last weekend things changed a little - the sun shone almost all of the day both Saturday and Sunday, and knowing nothing would get done in the house, the Horse Doctor and I turned our attention to the garden. There is something very therapeutic about hacking and slashing, and there's no shortage of overgrown trees, shrubs and other rubbish needing hacked and slashed.

This weekend the weather has been even better - bright sunshine and icy cold. Having already pruned the apple trees to within an inch of their lives, I turned my attention to the overgrown hedge that was so out of place in the middle of the lawn.

Before: Is there anybody in there?

I don't really know why it was there, but it's not anymore. And neither is the honeysuckle that had grown up through pretty much everything else around the edge of the garden, almost completely swamping what turns out to be a rather nice ornamental oak tree.

After: Gosh, we have neighbours! And a greenhouse!

This afternoon the bonfire pile grew so large I had to get a ladder so that I could climb on top and stomp it all down. I think we're going to light it at Hogmanay - see in 2009 with a good old pagan burning ritual. With luck we might get a couple more dry weekends before then, and I'll be able to clear yet more rubbish.

Just the Mahonia still to go

And that's the nub of it, when I think long and hard. These past two excepted, I can't remember when last we had a dry weekend. Can't remember many dry weeks, for that matter. Funnily enough, not since June when my parents came to visit - the last time I saw them. Now it may be psychological, or it may simply be meteorological, but it seems to me that this entire summer has been one long miserable wet bastard of a time. And it's very hard to whip up much enthusiasm for anything more strenuous than crawling into bed with a good book when outside it's wetter than a Happy Hour Martini.

A bit of sunshine, a lot of hard physical exercise, and finally I think I'm getting my enthusiasm back. Tomorrow I might try reworking the first few scenes of the novel, get those writing muscles back into shape.

Judging by the way my whole body aches right now, it's probably the only thing I'll be able to do.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

If you do manage to discover a source of untapped enthusiasm, can I have some too?

And I have to say - digging the view from the bottom of your garden.

December 08, 2008 11:56 am  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

The kids have an unending supply of enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, it usually involves their enthusiasm for doing hideous things to me, like tickling me endlessly or trying to jump on my stomach, or sing the same song over and over and over and over.

The one thing I say is don't look back at what hasn't been done for a while. It's been a horrendous year. As you're ready, look forward. There's no magic formula for healing.

December 08, 2008 2:50 pm  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Sounds like you got a mourning depression. Rationally accepting the death of beloved ones is one thing, convincing the subconscious to stop acting up is another. It's pretty normal. I could not write for several months after my mother's death, and I know my father has gone through some sort of depression, too.

And that miserable weather surely doesn't help.

December 09, 2008 7:16 pm  

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