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In Hot Pursuit of Happiness

Don’t Get Up…

No, this isn’t just what you tell a shockingly short man when you’ve turned up late for a date that was arranged online. It’s also what you do when, after finally getting to sleep after a busy night’s work, you suddenly fall devastatingly in love with a man you’ve literally met in your dreams. This is because it’s quite useless, if you do get up, to pretend that you will be able to put him out of your mind, just because you’re busy with another project. It’s no good. He’s got to come out, and that means a new Word Doc, a fresh blank page before you, a sudden mix of the inertia of stupidity, and complete panic at the thought that He might not come out after all, in the moment (suffering, as He continues to develop himself in your mind) or if He does, He may come out in the wrong context (frustration, as this is tantamount to tons of rewriting, re-casting and proper cold rethinking, which is horribly difficult, as opposed to instinctive flow.) Worst of all, He may come out wrong, which means mental TORTURE, the deletion of everything, and a fresh, fresh start, even in the midst of now sheer panic.

This is all very terrible, but do you know what’s worse? Battling with said Dreamlover, while juggling work, your hair (which for some reason, this month, has completely refused to submit to your authority) and your time, some of which you are required to spend with family members, close and distant, or they become either Resentful or Suspicious. I can’t deal with either because, while most families revel in drama, whether high (and loud) or low (and passive-aggressive,) mine being no exception, I reserve most of mine for my writing, and, indeed, tend to avoid it altogether in real life.

Nevertheless, my dramatic instincts are highly challenged when I’m conducting said battle with new Dreamlover, work, hair and time, and ALSO a short story. I am emphatically NOT a short-story writer, but like all good writers, it may take me some time to accept this. It is a skill, and, logically, all skills can be learned. I tend to submit myself to the torture of trying to write a short story at least once a month –which isn’t as dramatic as it sounds, because writers are born self-torturers, but it is certainly one of my more painful enterprises. I should have given up long ago, except that occasionally, I put out a marvel, and then I’m so proud of myself, I try again… and the cycle restarts. I’m not used to not being good at things, even on the first try. This isn’t due to some super natural talent or a streak of lucky recklessness in my character –quite the contrary. I am OCD about reading the instructions, directions, rules and regulations of the thing, until I understand exactly what I’m about. Then it’s (usually!) smooth going. It’s how I first got myself on a horse. It’s also why I didn’t panic (completely) when it began to move (the exercise was to mount it –the horse wasn’t supposed to move, once mounted, but who knew horses don’t get implied directions?) Following the instructions on how to communicate with a horse, I gently pulled (trying with all my might not to clutch) my reins tighter to my chest, and gave a squeeze using my inner thigh muscles –even though I’d only just that morning discovered I had them. Worked like a charm. And horse-riding has since been one of favourite things to do.

Do you know what’s even worse than getting up to battle D, W, H, T, and S.S? BEING INTERRUPTED. Though I never qualified to be called a spitfire, I apparently used to be one remarkable erupting volcano when I was a child. I quite remember being a sulky teenager (which has always been in fashion) but grew up to manage my temper in ways my parents certainly still walk in disbelief that I can, and though my habit of bubbling stewing internally has yet to dealt with (which it must, because like toothpaste, shampoo, microwaves, alcohol and too much bread, it is apparently causes of Cancer) I have learned enough to keep my eruptions at bay –literally by physically distancing myself from any potential Last Drop. Thankfully, I’m not much of a rancorous person, and I forget quickly and easily (mainly, I suspect, because my mind is too busy processing every minute’s overload of information, questioning etc.) and I can usually come back to said Last Drop with some composure. Unfortunately, however, if I am NOT given enough time to put my simmering temper sufficiently far away from the surface, composure is not possible to regain fully, in which case, it has been reported to me by my mother, an aunt and some young cousins that, though my speech and manners may be faultless, I look either like the very depiction of an unbalanced murderess (Mum) or like a cartoon of the evillest witch (cousins.) I believe I once witnessed one of these little devils actually take a picture of me for a school project, with quite detached scientific interest… Don’t know why I didn’t blow. The shock probably acted like iced water over my outrage, delaying it the point where eruption was impossible. My friends are so-called because they have earned this right –which includes instinctively knowing when the volcano is doing its thing, in which case they are experts at distracting it.

In SHORT, I don’t WANT to get up today. It would be a successful attainment of Happiness if I could just stay in bed, and do nothing but read and drink hot cocoa. (Sigh…) Alas, since this won’t be possible, I must ask all of you to send me calming ‘Ommms’ or prayers to keep my simmering going without eruption!

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About Ciggie Cramond

Ciggie Cramond is an author, writer, editor and translator currently living in Nairobi, where she is actively writing her next book, supporting Arsenal, and looking for The One... Online, naturally!

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