As I sat out in the sun today at my friends’ house in Vancouver, I reflected on how nice it was to be away from home, where I am consumed with a constant sense that “I should be doing something”. This has plagued me throughout my career as a writer and I believe that it is mainly a conundrum of the female writer and not the male. I could be wrong. But as I recall when I was working on my book about Yorke Island, I knew that it was imperative that I stop to make a meal, or two meals if my partner was at home, and that it was almost impossible to get to writing work done if there was a sinkful of dirty dishes.
These types of nuisances, it is important to point out, never affected the way my male partner went about his day. In fact, I remember that I read in the acknowledgements of a local male author that he thanked certain female friends who ‘brought him meals’ as he was working on his book, so that a) he didn’t need to be concerned about feeding himself and b) he could work uninterrupted. What a luxury!
Is it part of the female psyche? I can’t say. I do know however, as I have heard about it, that there are men out there who like to cook, and who have a meal ready when their lady comes home from work. I for one, have never lived in that world.
When I embark on a project, I must shop first, make sure that the food I have shopped for gets cooked and stop whatever I am doing to feed myself. I’m not saying that I don’t get a respite now and again. My 81 year old mother loves to cook, and should I drop by, will always offer a meal. I use this to my ultimate capability, because I do love to cook and to eat, but not every day.
My ex partner (ex because I didn’t want to cook every day) is still a good friend and now that we are friends, will make dinner for me when I visit. He also likes to go out to eat and we enjoy this together. This is terrific too, but it still doesn’t answer the question of how, when I am immersed in a writing project, I will get my meals delivered?
I think that I will end my life like Iris Murdoch. And, if you have seen the film, she was able to completely ignore the clutter, the dirt, the piles of dishes because SHE WAS WORKING ON SOMETHING. My daughter has promised me that she and her brother will procure a cabin by the lake for me where I can have several cats and enjoy my dotage with them, writing to my hearts content. A lovely idea, but where is the maid in this scenario?
She and I, obviously need to agree on some terms. In the meantime, I am stuck with making enormous pots of soup so that I can heat them up when hungry, and therefore get on with my work. I am moving to Quadra Island shortly, home of the writer whose friends brought him meals. I’ m going to look them up.
March 8 is International Women’s Day!!