Reflections on Childhood Dreams of Great Expectations

Musings of reality vs. fantasy as I start out and commence the heady world of self-employment, written back in 2006. Before me – literally – lay a blank, empty page. Rabbit-in-the-headlights stasis. Before I had a plan. (Do I now? – is the constant question.) You are hit by a sense of liberation, latitude and freedom that is almost bewildering, as described below. Ironically, this leads to some degree of bland repetitiveness, which I try to capture here in my daybook / diary on one particular day. Loneliness, isolation, cut-off-ness, too. Some of you fellow 21st-century go-it-aloners may identify with it. (2006)

Reflections on Childhood Dreams of Great Expectations

24 October 2006

…and sit and pick,
and pick at my face
and bits and spots
and look in the mirror every ten minutes
to check my make-up:
the make-up that I put on at 8.45 this morning
for no-one.
…and sit and click
through twenty-seven random
internet pages looking for something inspiring
and check my email inbox again
and again and again – just one
more time in case someone has sent
me something.
…and click away the adverts on the web
for stars, for casinos, for diets,
I don’t need any of that,
and Google all the people I’ve ever
known, see what they’re doing now.
…and drink tea with breakfast
and then instant coffee by ten,
and then onto the real stuff by eleven
(two cups of), to keep me going
next the screen.
…and lunch which is lentil soup
and dry unappetising bread,
shivering round the kitchen table
over Jeremy Vine’s lunch-time rant
and taking sides and vaguely
skimming over yesterday’s news
in The Times, (I contemplate Sudoku,
and then think No).
…and into the frosty blue-lit
bathroom with a chilled, caffeined
bladder, and cleansing off my
make-up again to let my
skin breathe (which no-one will see.)
…and distractions of lifestyles
and lists and makeovers
take over my afternoon plans
and I’m into a box of old rubbish,
twenty-five minutes should do it,
– but it takes fifty.
…and into the photos and albums
and CDs and all the jewel cases
to see which disks are missing
from their homes because this would be
more work.
…and tidying away for the hundredth time
my folders of ideas, and drawings, and writings
which are neatly colour-coded and which
sit on the floor, next the window,
and I enter them once a day, max.
…and picking my ears or my nails
for the fortieth time today
and fiddling with my hair
into an ‘80s-style do for a laugh,
then, looking in the hallway mirror
again, I take 10 photos of myself
in different poses, stick them on
the computer, which no-one will see.
…and a radio play on Radio 4,
which I heard at 10.45,
I will listen to again at 6.45
this evening, and The Archers
which I never meant to listen to
in full, ever, but I have now,
and then back to my dictionary again
to look up obsequious, hegemony, and etiolated,
whereupon I write them down
in my book of words
which I have already added to
this morning.

© Annie Copland.

Creative people don’t always work in a conventional 9-5 pattern. It’s always a good idea to evaluate where you are going and what you are doing. Making bold decisions in your life isn’t a fix-all answer; it can lead you in ways both good and bad. Sometimes it isn’t always what you think. It’s about cutting through that fantasy ideal to be able to see (and accept) the reality of what you now have in front of you. And about how you manage that new reality. But, through careful thought and perseverance, it is possible that you’ll get there in the end.

Some say isolation spawns creativity = well, we shall see.

Thanks for reading.



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