28 July 2014

Through the mail slot

I went and came back from Slovenia — stories I wanted to tell about transit and Vienna all melted away because I am a lazy writer, not writing when I should write. I am, however, also a guilty writer, so I come back to writing at times not because I want to, but because I feel I have to. Not for you — not for the reader or me or future me, but for the writing. Not for anything else.

There is not much to tell from my trip, except all the things that I can remember now. A train ride out of Austria to the south. I felt tired and heavy the whole time, the weight of my family, which I can never seem to shake, which this whole blog is now devoted, in some way or another. I left one day, the last day, to go running on the river. I said to the people at my table, I am going running, and one of them said, You should go: life's too short. I said outloud what I thought: Is it? It doesn't feel that way. It feels like it's been going on and on, like it won't ever stop

The truth was that I wanted to run in the heat and run to the edge of my endurance, where I felt like I wanted to throw up and pass out on the path. I wanted to run in the worst way, the beer and all the shit I had been eating for the last week, trying to save money and wandering around the city after the conference, aimlessly waiting for the next day. 

Can the work of the Lord be quantified. I suspect not. 

When I came home, home to Birmingham, the nights were noticeably shorter, like summer is just starting to wane. The British will say, 'We've had lovely weather, to be fair' and they're right, it's been a lovely summer. Last summer too, though I wasn't here, was lovely too, I'm told. Now, we begin to feel the touches of autumn, and the promise of long winter, with sweaters and some snow, I hope. It's been a long time since it's snowed.

Through the mail slot this week came first very good news about our finances and then very bad news: the specifics of it are unimportant, except that our choice to live here, in England, is going to continue to be hard financially. No light at the end of the tunnel for now, except some vague future. I had the first moment ever when I thought that maybe leaving Malaysia had been a mistake, as I looked at a photo of friends in an open air food court. No, no, of course not, I reminded myself: another set of article proofs come. Another book that I'm in. No, no, stick to the plan — keep your head down and work hard. There is always something coming, if you can will it.