I’ve recently found myself strongly tempted to check the internet to find out more about chronic fatigue and ME, since I seem to be tired almost all the time. However I’m trying hard to resist this temptation. In the same way that you can be very unhappy without actually being clinically depressed, I know you can be very tired without having some serious medical condition. And there are indeed a few real-world factors that have conspire to wear me out: a working week where everyone in the organisation seemed to gang up on me and layers of work built up on my desk like geological strata which, if preserved intact as the result of some unforeseen environmental catastrophe – one or more of Edinburgh’s allegedly extinct volcanoes waking up from their million-year sleep, perhaps – could provide some interesting evidence for future archaeologists about the trivia that we 21st century workers allowed to take up all our time; evenings of stressing out over whether I’ve set the table properly for Act 2, followed by sleepless nights trying to remember if there’s enough cake left for the following performance; Saturdays of hacking through wildly overgrown garden shrubs to try and establish a track through them to the end of the garden where I’m sure I left a chair several months ago before the rains started.
Anyway, I’ve now got a whole weekend and three more days off work, during which time I will test myself to the limits by attempting to get round as many Book Festival and Fringe events as Lothian Buses will take me to. This in itself may be enough to trigger a final breakdown, since travelling by bus in Edinburgh at the moment is practically an Olympic event, requiring years of training and superhuman stamina. The only thing missing is the medal at the end. There could be scope for more bus-related events such as the bus pursuit, in which the bus follows a cyclist down a road too narrow to accommodate both of them, or the sideways pavement jump in which an unsuspecting pedestrian walks along the road to avoid the crush of Festival tourists on the pavement, then has to jump speedily out of the way of the double-decker bus that suddenly materialises a foot behind him.
My main problem with all these other things crowding in on my time is that I’m in the process of editing two novels, and this is what I would prefer to be doing. To help me get through them both I’ve made a rule that I have to spend time on editing every time I switch on my computer, and to avoid focussing on one novel to the exclusion of the other, there’s a secondary rule that I have to edit them in turn. This is difficult, since I’ve realised I like one of them very much more than the other, but I want to give them both a fair chance.
Incidentally, I still haven’t had the oven fixed, or booked a holiday, or done the other things I mentioned last time. Maybe next week…