More than a mouthful
I have never successfully kept a diary. Although I had many throughout my childhood, all of them ended up with three pages torn out and – too scarred and ugly to be considered for re-use – condemned to the back corners of a drawer, where they’d languish until my semi-annual purge of things.
Often the problem stemmed from the fact that I would be inspired to keep a journal after re-reading Anne Frank’s impressive log and so would commence as she did with ‘Dear Kitty’. A few days in I would be both appalled at the earnestness of such beginnings (earnestness having always been both inspiring and shameful to me) and confronted by the banality of my own humble recordings. Naturally I would tear them out and resolve never again to tread that narrative path.
Of course I did, re-tread – albeit inconsistently, and with many wobbles. In some ways, it seems I still do. At least, I have felt the diary tug these past couple of weeks. Right now, Sunday morning, I am sitting on my mum’s sofa, having driven up this morning from Canberra to do family yum cha / skull-delivery to their new homes / boyfriend reconnection / other friends / maybe do some marking before heading back down tomorrow.
I am a little overcommitted this weekend. Or rather, this semester. In part this is due to circumstances slightly beyond my control… but mostly it’s my own fault.
And that’s the thing. I’ve always had appetites larger than I could satisfy – from cheese and tequila to social engagements, work commitments and clothes. I have managed to tame some of these beasts (goodbye tequila, farewell shopping) but others still haunt the wooded forest of my life.
Back in June I finally (finally!) got a part-time job as a bartender, working roughly 15hrs a week. It was stressful and strange and challenging and good and paid my rent (just). Then several of the other bar people quit and suddenly I was working more like 30 hours a week. It was stressful and less strange and mostly good and I was definitely paying my rent (with a little left over!) Then an email I had sent off into the ether back in April returned, inviting me to be a casual academic at the School of Law, ANU.
So I had a second job, teaching two tutorials. Then they needed someone to take an additional tutorial because numbers (over 500 students!) were greater than expected. Of course I could have said no, either to the additional demand or to the initial offer. But as always my eyes were greedy, the pay rate was good and I wanted to see if I could do it – despite having ‘failed’(?) at the practice of law, could I still teach it? Would the Ickle Firsties (thanks Peeves) pick me as a fraud? I said I’d take a third.
A week or so in it turned out that, in addition to the 6 hours a week teaching, there was marking to be done. Or rather to do, since I must complete most of it this coming week. (I now fully understand why my own legal ethics tutor told us that our challenge was to keep her from turning to drink and getting completely sloshed when reading our assignments… So far, I’m managing on strong tea and copious quantities of rum & raisin chocolate but, with 7 weeks left to go, the slope is slippery.)
And of course have my reason for needing ‘part-time’ work at all, my full-time art course, with its own demands of both studio time and assignments (and before you ask, no, being a tutor has not made me a better or more considerate student). In ceramics this semester we are learning to throw on a terrifying spinning instrument affectionately known by lunatics who partake in its rituals as a ‘wheel.’
(It is not really a proper wheel. Though it is circular. So possibly slightly like a wheel of cheese.)
Regardless, it’s something I am finding both tricky and addictive. I hate that I cannot do it and also know that I must show that spinning circle that I am better than it. (Note - these aspirations of superiority are deeply contrary to the holistic approach we are taught. My need to make the clay my bitch would not be well received).
I am then juggling these engagements with some other writing work, some art-show things (the shot above is actually of a work that will be on show at the ANU Foyer Gallery 27 August – 3 September) and an interstate boyfriend. Who definitely isn’t last on that list but seems to have ended up there in the retelling. My bad. I probably should rejig that but I haven’t had breakfast and the lazy susan (already overflowing in my greedy-mind’s eye with prawn dumplings and spring rolls) calls.
Till next time, hopefully sooner than last (next) time.