Monday, April 24, 2017

reality-check


I know I have two small children, and only one day a fortnight "to myself", but still I feel that this little time has been a worthy test of my fortitude and actual commitment.  And I have to admit - to both myself and my small, but very supportive, readership here at the Pickled Pear - that I am most likely not going to be a professional writer.

Please, PLEASE do not spare a moment's pity for my making this declaration.  For it is I who must apologise.  Several of you have made a point of openly complimenting me on my writing, and encouraging me to make a living from my talent.  Which has possibly gone to my head a little more than you imagined.  I am afterall, in real life, a reasonably shy and awkward character; you would be forgiven for believing me at least a little lacking in self-esteem and therefore worthy, if not actually in need, of overt praise.  And while a bit of praise has been a welcome antidote to the bullies of the schoolyard and the critical-mother of the home-life of childhood, you should probably now cut it out.  I actually think I'm pretty fantastic.

I think this so much, that it is not to my 30-odd fans to whom I feel an apology is owed, but to the world.  I actually believe in myself so very much, that I think it is a shame for HUMANITY, that I will be squandering my incredible talent as a writer.

And there is one simple reason that I will be denying the world my brilliance: abject laziness.  It is the reason that both my house and my children are cleaned with far less regularity than is generally suggested; it is a major reason that I am currently so fat that people just assume that I am pregnant again; and it is THE reason that I doubt I will write for a living. 

I tend to think of laziness as inate, perhaps even genetic.  Some people are natural-born go-getters, and some of us would really just rather have been born rich enough to live on the sofa.  Forever.  With wine and cheese brought to us on a regular basis.  I have always, against my politcal ethics, quite fancied the idea of a sedan chair, with a group of burley males to carry me about the place.  (I am sure that if I DID have a sedan chair, I would be even fatter than I am today, so it is probably just as well I am not insanely wealthy.)

Anywho, as far as I can tell, the key to success in anything worth doing, is a combination of: innate-talent, a fair dose of luck, and a good dose of GRIND.  And while I have no troubles with the first two, the major ingredient is lacking.  I love to blame my star-sign (yes, yes, an atheist shouldn't even entertain the notion of star-signs... whatever!)  My favourite book on the subject by Mystic Medusa, the Surreal Field Guide to Astrology (now sadly out of print... and no, you can't borrow the THIRD copy of it husband has acquired for me) states that "duty does not call to these people, duty carps at them in a low and grating monotone."  Sigh... so true.  Star-signs being accountable or not, I totally feel that way.  Fuck duty; bring on hedonism!

So while I may have decided that the most enjoyable thing to do with a slightly tipsy evening with family early-to-bed is to write this post, it's not something I'm ever likely to do with any stamina.  Yes, I will keep writing this thing (with exciting upgrades and expansion of audience planned for the future!)  And yes, I even have a wee book on the go (it may well take YEARS).  But I once read a poignant suggestion that if you don't do it ("it" being WRITING) while you're busy with work and life and what-not, you won't actually do "it" anymore by having loads of time.  You either write, or you don't.  I am 36 and haven't done it.  I am 36 and have an entire day off a fortnight and am not doing it.  I would rather spend occasional days pottering, daydreaming, and occasionally getting high... and pay for it with an easy, uncreative, salaried day-job.

Which, dear reader, is what I (currently) intend to do.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Festival


Today is St Patrick's Day; hence I am decked in green, have cooked up a Guinness-based meal, and am looking forward to a decent indulgence in Irish whisky tonight.  I have never been to Ireland, and am only one-16th Irish.  All I know about my Irish great-great grandmother (despite living with her grandson, my granddad for over two years) is that her name was Alice, she had red hair, and she was Irish.  I could have learnt more about my history, but despite being given the advice AT THE TIME to do that very thing, I did not.  Which just goes to prove that you can't tell young people anything.

So I am celebrating a religious, nation day which I absolutely cannot claim a right to, and reflecting on the sadly commercialised nature of all of our holidays.  I am clearly guilty of participating in this nonsense, but I believe that really, it is about craving something more meaningful.  As a committed atheist, I am not specifically sad about the religion being taken out of formerly religious festivities; but I would rather join in religion than in capitalism.

I do not believe humanity requires gods, but I do believe it requires celebration.  And I am not just being hedonistic.  No really, I'm not!  Pure hedonism is empty, unfulfilling, and frankly, dull.  Societies create festivals because we need an outlet for hedonism, but we also need meaning, and we need each other.  A festival is more than just a party; it evokes a shared consciousness, a connection with our fellow-man, and yes, a spiritualism, that we all need to feel.  Festivals bring a desirable check to hedonism - by giving it set outlets - as well as a purpose.

I am anti-capitalism for moral reasons - the requirement for continuous "growth" (of profits) in a capitalist system creates the requirement to continually find new workers, markets and environments to exploit.  Most importantly to me, it is an inherently unfair system; and I cannot accept preventable inequality in my world.  But I am also anti-capitalism for aesthetic reasons.  There is something just so grubby, so anti-social, so un-beautiful about taking a human celebration, and using it to sell stuff.

Despite an interest in my heritage, I am not particularly nostalgic: I look to the future.  And in my fantasy future, in our anarcho-socialist-eco-feminist-utopia (yes, I am a crazy optimist), we will figure out a way to celebrate properly; without recourse to imaginary higher-beings, but with depth of feeling.  (And still, as tonight, with plenty of the consumable type of "spirits".)

So, happy St Patrick's Day all!  May you celebrate with friends, family and feeling.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Greener Grass


A while back now I was sitting in a quiet corner of a shopping centre, breastfeeding my younger child, and feeling trapped.  Probably my least favourite thing about breastfeeding was being stuck in one spot for long periods of time, watching the world around me and wishing to be part of it.  On this particular day, for who knows what reason, I started humming 'My Favourite Things' from The Sound of Music, and it occurred to me that the lyrics are utterly ridiculous.  "Raindrops on roses", "whiskers on kittens"... really?!  Those are you FAVOURITE things.  I mean they're kinda sweet, cute things.  But your FAVOURITE things, in the entire world of things?

So I wrote my own version.  My list is, naturally, rather more inspired by debauchery.  Especially in the context of missing the pre-parenting world.  I still sing this to myself from time to time; it's kinda comforting.  It reminds me of a version of myself that I still cherish, and nowadays even have the occasional opportunity to return to, at least temporarily.

Yes, my actual favourite things are my two beautiful children, and my doting husband.  Love is, of course, the ultimate thing of all.  And there are other deep things, philosophy, art, intellectual yearning... these are the things that life is really made of.  But they can be complex, emotionally fraught, and frankly, hard work.  These are my other favourite things.

To the tune of 'My Favourite Things':

Flirting with older men with British accents,
Drinking 'til falling down, dancing 'til morning,
Smoking a spliff on a warm afternoon,
These are the things that I wish I could do.

Leisurely walks in a town or a forest,
Pub lunches, bubble baths, chatting 'til dawning,
Sensual sex with a generous man,
These are the things of which I am a fan.

When the boy shouts,
When the girl whines,
When I have to nag,
I can't help but think of my favourite things,
And they make me feeeel quite... sad.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Living the dream


In my former life when I watched adult television regularly, there was an episode of Beautiful People in which they defined camp-ness as doing things 'as if'.  Now I'm not sure if I could be considered 'camp' (even if I have fancied myself cool enough to be a fag-hag), but either way I am absolutely loving the notion of doing things 'as if'.

So when I'm driving to work in my hail-damaged Hyundai, I sing along to the tunes blaring on the radio 'as if' I'm on the French Riviera in my convertible Jaguar (brunswick green, with matching leather driving gloves).  And when, over these hot days, I've had a few minutes to myself in my Big-W paddling pool, I drink my glass of cask-wine 'as if' it were the finest champange, and look up to the frangiapani tree next to the fence 'as if' it were my view in a luxury resort.

And now, typing at my dining table surrounded by house-work, I do so 'as if' I am a great writer in my secluded study with inspirational, landscape views.

I can wear my Cancer Council sunglasses as if they were Prada, my op-shop dresses like they're one-off Valentino frocks, and my more-than-chubby body and un-styled hair with the air of a Hollywood starlet.

The other night hubby and I watched a series about an arms-trader and the people trying to bring him down (and those propping him up).  We tussled over who was most naughty at wanting to stay up for yet another episode (the treat of ADULT TELLY was a bit much for us), which was a lovely reminder of just how much I love living with my best-pal, soul-mate husband.  And in the morning we both awoke relieved that we were only dreaming that we had an arms deal to do, affairs to hide, and death to avoid.

But perhaps even more of a relief was looking at the luxurious lives on screen and feeling smug; knowing that I could never be lured by money.  Poverty, even of the suburban-Western variety that could befall me, is clearly not fun; but my current middle-class reality more than satisfies.  A life of wholesome work, a loving family, and healthy illusions of grandeur, are all I really need.

If I could just find a way to clean the house 'as if', I'd be set for life.