He looked up the steps to the church, out of breath. Gus had had to leave the house, which was full of his divorced parents. His mum, Helena, had been asked by the officers to identify the body which had infuriated his father who felt left out. Sean argued that if the kids had lived with him, none of this would have happened. All unfair. And all about them. Gus had no air there at all. So he had slipped out, and ran, and ran and ran, gulping down the air. Until he ended up here, looking up the steep hill at this weird-looking church in the cold, autumn afternoon sun. He was still fuming, so angry he hardly felt the hot tears on his cheek grow cold quickly. He legged it up the stairs, two at a time, and started gritting his teeth, and walking around the base of the building. He couldn’t be still for long. Even just walking, the images replayed in his mind. His father, Sean, coming to collect him and his sister for the weekend. His mother grumpy that he hadn’t packed his stuff, and always referring to Dad as “your father”, as if blaming the kids for their father’s faults. It was early days of the separation, as his friend Joe had said.
Don’t read this if you are meant to be doing something else. No, seriously, procrastination will be the death of you. Or will it? At a workshop today I committed to writing a feature article about the science of procrastination. Is there research out there about how to overcome it? There must be. Apparently, Nikolai Tesla was fantastic at overcoming the urge to do something, anything other than working. As a science writer myself, I need to start with something else, some new research, a scientific development, something already published. It means I ALWAYS have a reason to surf the web to find information and inspiration… and distraction. And if I feel this way, what effect is this having on the way our kids are learning, who are growing up connected 24/7?
By the unflattering light of a neon snake, I had an epiphany today. I want to be a Catherine Deveny. Recently I quit the best job I ever had to try a less conventional career path. I was burned out by two decades on the corporate treadmill, frustrated by the inflexibility of western working ways, and determined to find alternatives. I’m on a mission to create a big life, not just a big living. So I’ve been taking random creative adventures. And today I attended a writing masterclass by the delightfully feisty Catherine Deveny. As I parked my car, Catherine cycled past in her fur coat and raspberry beanie. It struck me just how fabulous she looked. She exudes fearlessness, fulfilment and freedom. And I wanted what she’s got.
How did this book start? It started sitting in a boardroom in Collingwood with 13 other writers. At one end of the room was a shiny, wet looking yellow canvas. At the other was a neon sign that said fear eats the soul. A snake wound around it with an apple at the top. I used to be petrified of snakes. I thought it was pertinent. I had invested in a day off to attend a writing class; something about writing, creativity and overcoming procrastination I think. It hadn’t occurred to me until that day, that perhaps my career was one of the manifestations of procrastination in my life. Until that day, I had seen my busyness there as productive. It certainly fitted well with wider notions of success. There were milestones I could point to in my work to show the world I was achieving; there’s where I crossed into a six figure salary, there’s where I got the word Director in my job title, that’s my seat at the Board table, here’s a sprinkling of awards for my work.