There was nowhere to go today. I tried a coffee shop but it was too noisy. As the clock ticked down til the time I had to return to my little boy I was desperate for a little space. As the café manager spoke loudly on their phone by me I could feel the frustration unfurl in my chest like a cat from its nap, unhappy to be disturbed.
I found myself at the library with forty minutes to go. School children used up desks, littering them with paper. I missed the heaven of a carrel at University. In my days at the University of London library there were even blissful rooms you could rent. A desk, a hard chair, a view of concrete below and the best part: a door. These private moments were spent reading, scribbling and often staring into the back of the mind rifling through thoughts. What a pure privilege.
Life now is a long way off the unimaginable hours I had then (and often wasted). Now, a baby cries in the children’s library, school girls chat and the incessant click of other computers interrupt my scattered mind. Today, I have to remember to send a birthday present, buy some cooking oil and worry about a school event. My mind has always been cluttered but the business of life, the motherload, overtakes it all.
Recently I have been tidying Marie Kondo-style, like half the world. In reality this means a mammoth pile of papers on my dining room table. They remind me, this is why you don’t write at home. It is of course a privilege to work only some days in the week. To have these secret quiet hours when my son is at school. But with them comes a need to not only clean the house but actually organise it so that it’s easy to clean. The pressure on my days off from the part-time gig is to not only fit in all the stuff, but also to be strategic about fitting it in. I am rambling again, because in these precious moments away from the house, my mind is refusing to focus on my work in progress.
The quest to find the perfect quiet spot continues.