On Conserving Energy

I began this entry on my charged-up laptop in the darkness of Earth Hour, having had a bath in the dark because I couldn’t find the candles, then staggering around trying to find my PJs without any light. Fortunately, one of the few advantages of deafness is a heightened sense of touch, which clearly proves useful during Earth Hour, as I was able to locate said PJs.

Given that the bureaucratic bastards at the British Embassy have given me six weeks to pack up my life instead of until the rest of the year, my head has been in an unpleasant spin lately. I have found myself saying that my life feels like a deck of cards thrown into the air, and I don’t know which way they’ll land. I have to decide which city in Oz to live in, what kind of job to get and how I’m going to fit in my writing around everything without getting so stressed that I give up on it completely.

Everything in my life is geared towards creating enough time for writing. This means as much space and quietness as possible. It means I have to have a job that is part-time, doesn’t stress me out and yet also keeps me mildly stimulated. It means I can’t make myself tired by drinking too much or eating chocolate. It means I would rather stay in and write or read than go out (although dancing for hours in high-heeled boots or sparkly shoes, preferably in a gay bar, is always permitted). It means I must run in the mornings to make myself sit still and write for the rest of the day, or to swim in the afternoons to help myself unwind and unknot problems. Some would argue that it’s an ascetic life, but it’s one that allows me to write, and therefore keeps me satisfied.

Consequently, my decisions for the future are to be guided by the need to maximise time and money to write my current novel. Of late, I’ve begun to realise just how firmly writing and money are yoked together. Because the former is drying up, I am desperately thinking about how to sustain the latter. The only job I could consider doing full-time would be to teach creative writing, as this would allow me to develop my craft as I crammed my practice into any spare corners of my life. Failing finding one of these, I’d have to get a crappy admin job to cover the bills. And thus I have finally reached the realisation that I am never likely to be wealthy, but rather that I will fall into the cliché of the struggling artist, who only lives for their art. Sometimes this worries me, because of my addiction to shoes and frocks, but at other times I can dismiss my fears for I’ve realised that I was put on this earth to write, and as long as I can sustain myself for long enough to do that, money doesn’t matter quite so much.

Moments like Earth Hour (despite the naysayers’ grumbles about its uselessness) are important for reminding us of the need to conserve energy and to reassess our obsession with materiality. As I stumbled in the dark, feeling my way through soft cashmere and fiddly bits of silk lingerie until I reached the sensible flannel of my PJs, I realised that luxury was nothing if I could not write.


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