Here I am, hard at work. I know it doesn’t look like work. My work very seldom does.
I lay in bed, my computer propped up on my knees, and write. Today, I’m writing about my narrator remembering something; a horrible memory of a time when her small community was starving and suffering from dysentery. I’m all cosy in bed and thinking about what I’ll eat for breakfast at 10:30. She’s haunted by the memory of trying to feed a dead person. I’m getting up soon…I can’t write this book for too long at a stretch.
I’ve been up once. I’ve made a party plate for my daughter to take to school, helped her style her hair, said goodbye to my husband and waved my daughter off to school on the taxi she shares with six other children. I’m sure, as I’m waving goodbye in my dressing gown, everyone in the street thinks I’m a terribly lazy mum. But I was working before six a.m.
At some point today, I may read a book or watch a film. That’s my work, too. I need to keep up with the narratives other people build. I need to have some concept of the context in which I work. So, lying in bed and typing is work. Lying on the sofa and reading a novel is work. Sitting in the cineplex, watching a matinee is work. Sitting on a plastic bag, watching the river rise in the rain; that’s work, too.
Sometimes (in fact, surprisingly often) I even get paid.