Thursday, October 08, 2009

Now Is The Winter, and it is cold in this tent.

So it's not, actually, Winter, but man it is cold. And outside the wind is blowing a gale.

I'm so cold I've got the heater on and  I'm wearing the stripy woollen jumper my sister AJ gave me from Noo Zillend, my sheepskin slippers I bought way back when C and I used to live with grumpy grandad (ooh yeah they were fun fun times) and my old black jeans with the hole in one knee. 
Helen saw me wearing these jeans once and she told me, very firmly, that I Must Stop wearing them outside the house. Those jeans, she told me, are for Doing The Housework Only.
Since I rarely Do Housework they hardly ever get a good wearing.  

Which means, on cold days when the washing has piled up, they're one of the few clean, ready to wear items in my wardrobe.

For a few weeks too, I've been feeling like the very Worst Parent In The World. Just about every parent feels that, I know, it gets passed around, that particular award - we hold it for a while, burn our fingers on the ice cold metal handles, engrave our name on it, and then one day it's gone. 

I think I got my award not long after the day both C and I forgot to pick up our son from preschool and our nephews from primary school - each thinking the other was going to do it. And I think it went just before the day I took Tricky for an outing to the Powerhouse Museum, one of our favourite haunts. That was the day he threw up in the car, just as I pulled into the carpark. He was saying "Stop the car Mummy, I need a cuddle, I don't feel very well," and I was calling over my shoulder "yes darling, not long now, of course I will give you a cuddle..."

Luckily I had brought the bag he uses for preschool, and in that bag we had put a spare change of clothes. And although I was prepared to just clean him up and drive straight back home, once he had chucked up he became remarkably cheery and quite eager to see the trains and indeed we ended up having a rather marvelous day.

 While at the museum we saw some 'children's theatre', not great writing but enthusiastic delivery. Tricky and I sat on the floor, or at least I sat and he was forcibly restrained by me. This was our first time at an event of this nature where he was old enough to express his displeasure (I WANT TO GOOOO!), some time earlier he came to see a production of one of my children's plays in Newcastle and was perfectly behaved. But then, he was also pre-verbal and probably breast feeding at the time. 

Tricky knows that I (and his father) go to see movies or theatre which he calls "cin-a-tar" as in "Mummy, where are you going? Are you going to the cin-a-tar? Who is looking after me? Pease don't go, pease, pease...I don't want daddy/Aunty N/babysitter/grandmother I want you..." This kind of emotional manipulation also adds a bit of shine to that crap parenting award I mentioned earlier.

So it's cold and the wind is blowing something awful around the house and through the cracks in the airvents but also, I just feel really really down. 

I think finding out about Emil, his sudden death, has really upset me, like not just made me upset but upset my balance, my sense of the way life has stacked up around me. 
Losing a friend and an artist, those two things entwined. 
Someone who started out when I did but who shot way ahead in his field and then fell. 

And a few more things have happened since Emil, things that impact on the way I see myself as a writer and an artist and as an Australian writer and artist. It feels like the whole of my industry could fit into a tent and I stepped outside to take a pee and there's no room for me anymore. And it's frigging cold out here and the wind is blowing and blowing and friends are dying.

Tricky enjoyed the show in the end, luckily, he sang and waved his hands and clapped at the right moment and later at home when I found him setting up his train station as a theatre; with his trains and miniature people as the audience, I felt a great wave of satisfaction. 

I had begun my offspring on that wonderful journey that is the arts; of appreciation, of story and spectacle and creativity, of self doubt and envy, of failure and almost success, of stress, not enough money, deadlines, messy desks and lost potential, opportunity and people.

It's the kind of thing I could get quite depressed about but now it's time to pick up Tricky (nephews on their holidays) and we stop in a park and slide on the slippery dip and play on the swings and the wobbly up down thing and we drive home and we look for strawberries and we find one that has survived the rain and the cold and then we go into the warm house and we eat cake and we drop crumbs all over the floor and I don't clean them up because we are far too busy building our new traintracks.


Maggie May said...

Tricky is growing into a delightful child. Well he has always been delightful, but you know what I mean!

Sorry about Emil. I lost a really close friend when I was 41 (to suicide) and it took a long, long time to get over it. Not sure you ever get over it as I now meet her children regularly and they were obviously badly affected by it too. Like ripples in a pond really.

It is freezing here. Well not really freezing..... just feels like that following our lovely Indian Summer (late summer).
Thought your weather should be good by now!

Nuts in May

granny p said...

Oh god, the artistic - and parental self-doubts. Both are never-ending confrontations with oneself and with one's self-esteem. Success one minute, failure the next.

Yeah, I feel for you. So much. And the deaths don't help any. There are always deaths.

But there goes Tricky making his theatre and lots more to come, and it's all life and you hate to think they'll suffer too, but they will and they'll survive as you do. Even if that's hard going sometimes.

So sorry about Emil. Maybe I said that before, but I'll say it again...