Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My right hand

My lap top is broken. In a country where children die from diarrhoea, mothers beg on the streets with their babies in their arms and a poor family could get evicted from their house any day without notice or compensation, I realise this is hardly something worth writing about. And technically, given that my lap top is broken, I can't write about it anyway. Yet here I am, writing as usual.

Except that I am at a friend's house and in a hurry, so this probably won't read very well. I'm just posting really to explain why I won't get much up this week. I have written all about our visit to the four orphans in their new foster home and desperately wanted to post it so that people might be inspired to donate or even sponsor another foster family. But it is on the lap top and I can't reproduce it here in a hurry. Arrrrgggggggggghhh.

On the scale of small, personal western tragedies, a broken lap top for a writer is pretty serious. Actually I am shocked at how upset and frustrated I feel. It has been four days now and I am utterly miserable. They tell me I need to wait for six weeks for a new fan. This cannot be true so I shall drag the kids around the city this afternoon looking for a better answer.

Other writers out there must know how I feel. Most mornings, when Bella falls asleep, or joins Srey Mait on a trip to the market I begin my ritual. I put on some music, whatever suits my mood, I make my tea, and sit down to write. Even as the lap top boots up I feel a vague sense of excitement about the two hours that await me.

Sometimes I get so absorbed in whatever I am writing that I wish I could just disappear for a week to a hut in the country. I could never do that though. I can barely go a few hours without seeing my children before I miss them terribly. But without being able to sit down and write I do not feel quite whole.

It has always been this way. Ever since I was a child I have written. Terrible adventure stories (I could never write a novel), with chapters and illustrations, a book of my life we had to do for school, with family photographs, but mostly letters. That was my favourite form of expression, which is probably why I love my blog so much. I wrote love letters (mostly to my best friend Gayle admittedly), letters to my sister, missives home from university and travels in South America, and long unedited emailed accounts of work trips to Africa to compensate for the short, censored published articles.

My piece de resistance was a faxed letter to James which I wrote over the course of a three week trip to Uganda. You can imagine how impassioned it was - we were new lovers, it was my first work visit and my first time in Africa. I faxed it to his hotel in Costa Rica where he was due to arrive two days before my return to London. He checked in with his boss and was handed a thick scroll covered with my large, messy scrawl. The receptionist said it just kept on coming out of the fax machine. The fact that he was not embarrassed was just one more thing to love about him. He still has it, tied with a red ribbon, the ink is so faded it is barely readable now. It reached wall to wall of our first flat together.

Writing is how I live. It is how I communicate, resolve my problems, and express my emotions. Of course I love to talk too, but when anything at all unusual happens, I run to write it down. And of course here, that is every day. I have just seen yet another crash on the corner of our street. That is about five in two months. This time it was two cars, and although there were no casualties it was the worst so far. It terrifies me, as I come down this street several times daily with my daughters. My head was swimming when I saw it. It brought up all the doubts and fears about living here that regularly plague me. I called James who is away in some far corner of the country this week, and could not get through. So the only thing I felt I could do was sit down somewhere quiet and write about it.

I am lucky to have a gorgeous neighbour Deidre who lets me use her lap top in the mornings. But it is not the same as sitting in my room watching Bella breathe as I write. So perhaps I shall just have to take to good old pen and paper. I'll write to my father, perhaps the last man in England to have resisted the charms of email. See if that helps soothe my twitching fingers and buzzing head. If not I'll just have to go and wake Bella.

5 comments:

maddy said...

You get a buzz as your (now defunct) laptop whirrs to life - I get the same when I click on to the link to your blog and there is a new post to read!! I also get a pang of disappointment if there is no new post.
So I hope your search in the city for a faster solution to fix the laptop is fruitful and the frequency of the posts doesn't lessen TOO much...your love is writing (plus everything else) and mine is reading (plus everything else)....

Kasia said...

I must say I also truly enjoy reading your blog and I am glad to find out that you have found a way to continue jotting down your thoughts. I also hope you can publish your book as well.

I must tell you, the reason I enjoy your writing is because your thoughts about parenting (or other subjects) do not appear critical or arrogant. They are refreshing and honest. Your style of parenting appears to be according to your nature and you encourage me (and I am sure others) to listen to my intuition about what is best for my children. Thanks for the encouragement. I think my children benefit from it. Its funny, I thought of you, when after delivering my second a few days ago, the nurse at the hospital told me to lay my son in the bassinet beside me because I may roll over on him while napping. She took him and lay him in the bassinet to nap. I somehow felt something was not right and quickly told my husband to take him out...funny...
Blessings, Kasia

Georgie said...

Thank you thank you both of you! What lovely comments to wake up to this morning and I am so happy to know someone is reading and enjoying and finding inspiration from my writing. It's what keeps me going. I am waiting to hear back from two editors about features/regular slots in their mags/newspapers. I'm waiting for their response before sending out my book to agents again because it would be much better if I can say I have secured a regular slot. Here's hoping...

Tot's Mom said...

Got here through the Mom Blogs.
Cambodia... wow! I'm a foreigner stuck elsewhere as well. I'm Malaysian but currently I'm in metropolitan Hong Kong. Can just imagine how different life would be in both of these 2 places.

Tara said...

Oh G - Just got back from a few days away and read this. How AWFUL for you - I know how much you love to write. I love to rant and would die if anyone or anything took that away from me..... Come to SL, you could use our PC as much as you like and the kids could play ;-) Love and writing hugs T xxxxooooo