Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Have you ever borrowed someone's time? How do you give it back?

I've got to admit that, while it would be incredibly frustrating to have happen to you, and while it's spiritually demoralising to watch happen to your own country's team (or the team of a country you believe should win), I love bad refereeing decisions. Livens the game up. Makes me laugh. Laugh at the impossible! Ha! Ha ha!

Which brings me to Franzy's blogging rule No. 39: You know you're scraping when you blog about television. I've always maintained that this blog wouldn't be a diary or a scrap book or a bitch-about-work journal. It's been all three over the years and there's been ups and downs, periods of rain and drought. Lately, however, I am (like I imagine the much-missed, but always just around the corner Ninjacockle) finding myself not only time-poor, but brain-poor as well. We only have so much luv to guv, as our trans-Tasman neighbours would put it (ut). So, to turn this briefly into a journal: I work 9 to 5. I get home. I do family stuff. I put the boy to bed. Three nights a working week, I sit down in front of the computer and try to read and write PhD stuff. It's tough. Lots of the time I don't make it. Saying 'No' to close friends who just want to come over for dinner and a baby-viewing is much, much harder than saying 'Nah, tomorrow night' to studying from 8pm until 10pm or whenever the words begin to go double on the screen.

I am writing this at 11pm. Screw what time-posted thing says. That's Yankee time. 11pm it is. And the worst bit about that is that I'm trying to line myself up with the little picture in my head of the masterful genius writer, slaving away while the rest of the world (time zone) withers and slumbers. But the fact is that my brain is a little tired. I'm not cracking code for living, but I'm not digging ditches, either. My brain's default setting after about 8pm is: "Whiskey/TV". Turning that into "PhD then flighty, creative book ideas" requires a little more flick of the switch. Even churning out a blog entry which doesn't rely on my son's radiant beauty for value is usually beyond me.

You'll notice in the graphic to my left, that my main activities, work and sleep, are the only ones I can prove that I do on a regular basis.
Sleep because I am still sane(ish)(or am I?)(Who said that?)(etc) and work because I'm able to pay for this internet and the food that keeps me from falling over.

The only non-accounted-for activity is 'Time I should spend being creative'. I say this because it's normally time that ends up being TV or Brainless Internet surfing.

But tonight, it's blogging.

Where the hell did all this energy come from?

I yam goen to bed


  1. Firstly, Franzy, stop kicking yourself. Your plate is full. Over-flowing, in fact. That you update your blog at all is an achievement.

    Secondly, I love reading your blog. I wouldn't be a regular visitor (or follower, which lets me know when you update) if I didn't like the way you think and want to know more about what makes you tick. If that's Mele, Charlie, work and whiskey - fine.

    Thirdly, Working 9-5 is a myth; it's more like 6am to 9pm when you factor in getting ready, taking Charlie to childcare, commuting to work, doing the actual work, commuting back home, doing the dinner/baby bath/family/housework thing.

    Fourthly, I don't work 9-5. I work probably 10 to 3.30pm (to incorporate a necessary GoneChocco life-and-waist-saving 8km run and the after-school pick up) and my blog is part of my bread and butter. Not in money terms perhaps, but to keep my creative mind alive. It's not always successful but it's the 'fun' I need when the drier part of my paid writing work often results in delays as government/big business/education media officers need to approve/check/seek out the relevant person for me to interview/research/quote/feature.

    Fifthly, my 'flighty creative book idea' - supposedly meant to flow so easily due to my generously slack working hours, has eluded me. Why? Because I love cuddling the rabbit during my self-proclaimed morning tea time; I love meeting Sapphire at the school gate and hanging out with her; I love taking Milly on a combined walk and Litter Ninja drive in the early evening; I love eating dinner with my family and cuddling up to LC on the sofa afterwards and love catching up with friends on the weekends.

    The key - I'm ever-so-slowly finding, is to not feel guilty about it, but be just grateful that there's so many wonderful distractions.

  2. Ha! Maybe this is why I resist the temptation to blog - too much complaining to do!

    Actually, my 'work' is thankfully 9-5. No homework, no marking, no staying back late. 5pm, I'm Elvis. All that other stuff isn't work, it's family, house, home. And I probably should count commuting as relaxing because I'm sitting there in my comfy car on the same road, listening to the radio and serving no one else's interests but me own.

    But YOU!
    Get writing. 9am to 10am. Call it the Golden Hour. Sit in the chair. Don't move. Type words. From 9:00 sharp. Stop at 10am. Mid-sentence if need be. If it helps, your first words will be:

    "Kath looked back on the last five years and added up the dozens of 9am to 10am writing shifts that she never used. She leafed through the two-hundred or so pages of pristine A4 which didn't need correcting because they had nothing written on them. She made a cup of coffee and refreshed The Age to see if anything was happening. Then she checked her email."

    Then print it out, glue it to a little card and draw scary monsters and ghosts on the card. That will make you write the book.

  3. Ha ha, I like what both of you said.
    Home and family certainly do take up a significant amount of time, no explanations re less blogging are necessary.
    How long does it take to get that PhD? I don't know these things.

  4. Think of a number.
    Double it.
    Then add two more painful years.

    That's how long a PhD takes.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32