I am desperate

Must be. Why else would I willingly tackle cleaning the kitchen? This job is left when everything else has been completed. I’ve already done the bathroom. Why is it males of the species are allergic to cleaning bathrooms – toilets in particular? Is it some secret women’s rite of passage – excuse the pun –the privilege of scrubbing the detritus of pleasures past? I doubt it.

I am not writing …

That’s why I’m desperate for activities which will give me excuses. I’ve even cleaned out the cupboard under the kitchen sink. I found a treasure-trove of underused sponges. What the hell have I used so many for? They’ve been there for a while you know, because I don’t use sponges any more; haven’t done for a couple of years now. I got sick of losing them. Another confusing component is the number of glass jars – without lids. There’s also a collection of lids not matching the jars. How did I do that?

I am not writing, a children’s story about birds.

I scrub and scour the grime of meals gone by from the shelves and tiles around this chamber of nutritious creation. Gordon Ramsey would be proud of me. I even took a toothbrush with lashings of gumption and scrubbed between the tiles! I used my husband’s toothbrush not mine.

The parrots have gone quiet.

I could clean the oven. Is the situation so dire? Not yet. The spider webs on the ceiling beams are becoming obvious even to me. Maybe I’ll end up like Miss Havisham, sitting at my computer in an old track suit and ugh boots, draped in a shawl of lace webs and staring into a void of light as the cursor mocks me with each pulse of unwritten lyricing.

I have a large drawer in my kitchen with a life of its own. It’s supposed to be for pots but I use it for plastic things. Everyone ends up with a collection of plastic things. This is mine. It taunts me every time I go near. I’ve tidied it on many occasions. Or was it a dream? Every take away container stacked neatly in order with matching lids next to them; the dreaded Tupperware sits, looking condescendingly upon all plastic containers of lesser quality. When I close this drawer the things move around and become a confused jumble, each vying for a place at the summit. The bottle tops however, head down towards the bottommost area where they can hide inside other containers stuck in these lower regions. There is a hierarchy here. The most useless items are always at the top where they can impede the search for the most utilized.

My desk could do with a dusting. How can anyone be creative around dust?

No wonder the birds are keeping away.

If it weren’t raining I would wash the windows. I say this even on fine days.

How can I write seriously with a poodle sitting on my lap? Actually, she sometimes does a better job with the keyboard. She definitely has a better imagination. She hears and sees things beyond my senses. Then again, if she were so smart she would keep the plastics drawer in order and write a book. Today is a perfect day for writing; which is why I’m not. You see, you’re supposed to suffer for your art. I’m not going to take a perfectly good writing day taking it so easy.

I am desperate. The meaningless tasks are running out. Huh! I haven’t tidied the sewing basket for a goodish time. Loose strands from reels of cotton and useless pieces of leftover hems cut from so many articles of clothing always too long, have become inexorably entangled. There are buttons from my boys’ school shirts; they are in their twenties now … the boys not the shirts. Somehow the buttons just used to ‘fall off’ and tears would rend the fabric of their shirts as though by magic.

There’s always the ironing basket. How desperate am I really? I once ventured right to the bottom of the basket. There were pieces of clothing there unable to be carbon dated. I vowed not to go thither again.

I am at my desk. I am not writing.

A lump of gold infused rock sits in front of me. It pre dates the boys. It was given to me clandestinely by an admirer in the depths of a gold mine, as we were taken on a tour with the pit boss on his rounds. It’s amazing how attractive I looked wearing overalls and Wellington boots meant for a six foot tall Welshman – especially in the dark. It was thirty odd years ago, and women weren’t usually allowed down pit. What a rare privilege. I can still see the embarrassed and shy faces of the miners as the open cage elevator stopped at each level to let them off. “Look straight ahead luv. Don’t go lookin at the rock face.”

If you’ve ever read the back of a public dunny door you’ll understand the types of poetry inscribed on the rocks beside the trolley car. I had to smuggle the gold out. Nothing was permitted to be removed from the mine. They had special gold detectives who were known to strip search the miners and the houses of the town as well. We were lucky … or not.

Where are the birds?

Maybe tomorrow I will write. Maybe tomorrow, the birds will come back to tell me their stories. I hope so, because I’m not quite brave enough to go to the bottom of that ironing basket yet …