Rose Keating’s weekly column as published in the Waterford News & Star’s Well! magazine
WHAT is it about summer that forces me into slothfulness?
I use the word ‘force’ very much intentionally, because it is an act of force. It must be. I simply have no choice in the matter; it’s out of my hands and out of my control. It’s not me choosing to be completely useless for the summer; it can’t be. I refuse to accept that.
No, the fault must lie with summer, not myself. It is an act of coercion, of enforcement; I have been taken hostage by the cruel mistress that is the summer break, and am at the mercy of her unforgiving whims.
I’m currently sitting at my kitchen table nursing a world endingly painful hangover in my pyjamas, over which I have cocooned myself in my trustworthy, warm, red Blanket of Shame. I have been in my pyjamas since I woke up, which was at around 2pm today. If we’re being honest, there is a very strong possibility that I would have slept in later if given the choice, but I was woken to the shrill sound of my doorbell ringing, my mother and two beautiful (but very loud) nieces waiting at the other side.
‘The heat has gotten to brain; it has sucked out all my smarts and left a carefree pile of vapid goo in its place… entirely the sun’s fault, not mine’
I’ve spent most of the day on the sofa, binging Netflix and creating an impenetrable fortress, fortified from pillows, throw overs and an unnatural number of blankets; I’m a sucker for softness. I haven’t done much more today than nap, eat Chinese, and watch Harry Potter movies. I’ve already gotten through the first three. I don’t even have the mental energy to watch a movie I haven’t seen before – surely a new low for me as an individual.
Needless to say, I have had something of a lazy day. But, a very, very good lazy day. A relaxing, restful day that I enjoyed immensely.
The problem is, I have been enjoying far, far too many of these deeply pleasurable but oh so guilt inducing lazy days. Granted, I haven’t been hungover on a couch for most of them. But I have been idling away the summer on all things frivolous and fun. I have become a lady of leisure. Why do something important and productive when I could be ordering a creamy slice of quiche at brunch with one of the girls? Or going for a walk through the park just to smell the grass after it’s been cut? Or searching for old, long, lacey dresses in charity shops, the dusty, delicate beauties you only ever find by chance? Or lying down somewhere in the searing sun, devouring a new romance novel, something dramatic and decadent and trashy in the most wonderous kind of way?
Why do something serious when I could be doing something fun?
Or so it would seem my motto has become now that the warm weather has struck. The heat has gotten to brain; it has sucked out all my smarts and left a carefree pile of vapid goo in its place. As previously aforementioned, entirely the sun’s fault, not mine.
But, dear reader, this would all be well and dandy except I am actually meant to be having a summer of hard work and minimal fun, a message which my brain refuses to accept.
This summer is one of those extremely rare periods when I actually have the time and freedom to write. I’m not working this summer, I have no lectures until September, no odious essay deadlines haunting my every waking moment. Final year and thesis plans are an enemy for the future, a fear for a slightly older, and no doubt wearier Rose.
As a result, this summer I am meant to be writing, and writing in a serious manner. No self-indulgent scribblings in the dead of night; this summer, I am meant to be getting up at the crack of dawn each coming morn. I am meant to be looking out at a bright sunrise, drinking green tea, getting into a yoga position to meditate on life and Stephen King’s On Writing, and proceeding to sit down at my desk and write the next great nominvel. Or, you know, the next great short story collection. Or, you know, the next painfully average but still technically readable novel/short story collection. Let’s not aim too high just yet.
I have a whole summer to devote to writing. For once, I have the time, space and freedom to completely commit to my writing.
And yet, here I am, debating whether or not to move on to Goblet of Fire or start the new season of Queer Eye.
I am still writing, technically. I still get my daily word count minimum done and dusted, because when your girl commits, she really commits. I shan’t flake on my duties.
But the mystery remains. I have all this time to write, but I’d still prefer do anything else. Yet, I know that the minute September rolls in, I’m going to be skipping lectures to go home and plot out story lines because my hand will ache too much for a pen to hold. Once I know I don’t have the time to do it, I will want to do it so much more.
I’m going to continue to blame summer for my terrible habits, but I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s a chance this problem might actually be on me.