I wake up in unfamiliar surroundings. I realise I can stretch out on the bed, even though she’s here too. It’s a bigger bed than I’m used to. I look up and see sunlight streaming in through the curtains. It feels warm.
Paris! The first morning here. A trip to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I’m tired. I forget how tiring travelling is.
My third trip abroad in four weeks – an extravangance only possible because I’m not working full-time. I’m not used to the excitement. It has a cumulative effect, making me more tired each day. I feel groggy, but excited to get outside and explore the city.
But.. so tired. She is also stirring beside me, but doesn’t seem very awake. I reset my alarm on my iPhone to 8:30.
(First decision of the day: to fail.)
8:30. Time to wake up properly. She makes us a cup of tea. I get my iPad and wireless keyboard. Time to write. I may not have achieved the 7:30 wake up time, but I can write 1000 words each day that I’m here.
I start typing. This is what I write:
“So here we are en Francais, and I can’t really be bothered with my writing but here we go. I have to do it, right? At least this is highly portable.
But what to write about?”
I put down the keyboard and pick up my cup of tea. That is all I write, the entire trip. All I want to do is enjoy my holiday with my wife. Discover a city I’ve spent less than 24 hours in so far. Relax, and forget. Stop striving for a while. Fuck it.
(My second decision of the day is to fail.)
We get home to Edinburgh. The rain pours down outside and it’s as dark as dusk, all day.
I look at my to-do list. I sent it to him before we left, with a list of ‘deliverables’. It now seems wildly ambitious. Whilst in Paris I was going to come up with a plan. Instead I shut out the future and the past, apart from the unavoidable one evident from the extravagant architecture around us.
I stare at the blank page. I have failed. No way round it. Because I announced the challenge publicly, now I have to admit my failure, publicly. But what to say?
I wake up, watch a couple of episodes of TV spy drama Nikita. Nonsense, but entertaining. Afterwards, in my mind, I carry out a debriefing, an interrogation, of myself, like it happens in the show.
Why did I fail? Because I chose to, twice.
What can I do? Admit, accept, try again.
I sit down and write – this.
What will my decision be at 7:30am?
It’s not surprising I’ve been used as a prime example of the “lazy controller” syndrome by creative consultant Jeffrey Davis (his solution: eat chocolate for breakfast- might have to try that).
Gwyn Michael also talks about “staring down failure” today on the Scoutie Girl blog.