Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Without a deadline

Yes, that's me. I'm a freelance journalist sans assignment.

To be fair, it's mostly out of choice. Having completed my contract with the Ottawa Writers Festival, and with the holidays around the corner, I opted to do the 'quality time' thing with my fiance, his fam, and my mom on the west coast. I vowed that if I received a stellar assignment that required me to stay in Ottawa I would, but I didn't really go after said job.

And so I find myself without assignment -- in small town Connecticut, no less -- for the first time in ... many months.

How many times I wished for such freedom ... and now I'm finding the situation empty, scary, and completely foreign. Sort of like a uber-clean showroom of designer clothes.

Now, I like to nest. I like to putter around the house and get things done; these include spontaneous bouts of creativity, but they also include 'mundane' stuff like cooking and cleaning. (O damn! tofu! phew. all good). To me, these things build security and comfort, as well as allowing my mind to play around with ideas in the comfort and budget of my own home.

As a natural nester, taking on the housewife role comes pretty naturally. Someone popped by this afternoon, and I was quite happy to serve tea and chat the hours away.

So you'd think that, looking at the next year and all it's wifey duties, I'd be pretty stoked. But the thing is, the nesting seems so much fun that I'm afraid I'll lose myself in it, become adrift in a sea of colour palettes and crudites, until I wake up one day ... in my apron.

But today offered some nibbles of comfort. I was afforded quite a few hours of alone time; I tried to get CBC online but failed technologically. Instead, after washing up my poached egg and rye toast, I fell into the coach and wrote. I thought to write in le blog and I did.

It's very quiet in this house on the hill and I already know it's a great place to read. Writing? So far, so good. (Especially since I found wireless in our new (wrap-around-porch-turned) apartment!)

And what is a deadline, anyway? : The end of a job, all too often arriving too soon for what the assignment truly requires. : Someone else's constraints forcing themselves on you. : A goal. : A way to frame your writing, place restrictions on your writing, give excuses to your writing and/ or it's shortcomings.

Writing without a deadline ... there may be something to it. For now, I'm taking the advice of journalist Fateema Sayani and poet Gillian Wigmore. On writing after marriage/ kids: do it in spurts.

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