The Great Canadian Adventure – All moved in (Originally posted Apr 15/09)

So here we are, in what should be called “The Creek House”, but I still think of as “The Rental House”. It’s been over a week since moving day, and the only things left in boxes are the books and the stuff from the study. Since we don’t have a study here, there’s a fair bit of healthy debate about where that’s going to go, but I’m pretty sanguine about all that – I have the new computer installed on a desk and it’s got a HUUUUUGE monitor and is super-whizzy. That’s a technical term, you know….

Best of all, Largest and Middle Weasel are at school. They went for their first day yesterday and really lucked out, with both their classes going on a field trip to the same place. Mrs Dim volunteered as a helper (because she wanted to go to the Space Center too) and I stayed at home with Tiniest Weasel (because I wanted to play computer games.)

Life is certainly easier with more space, though I do miss some of the Downtown life excitement. To compensate for that we have room out the front to roller blade or cycle in the unexpected sunshine, and the neighbours are so friendly it’s like they’re…Canadian or something. With almost all our stuff unpacked and around us again, this is beginning to feel like home. I think of something I need, and the odds are I know where to look for it. I’ve settled back into doing some work, and tonight I’m off to watch a graduate show because some of the alumni (is that right?) have performed one of my plays in the past.

The cloud on the horizon is Mrs Dim’s job. She hasn’t got one yet, and her only interview to date came back negative last night. On the plus side they had to take an extra week to decide, and she made it into the top three of one hundred and fifty applicants. In today’s job-hungry marketplace, that’s not bad. But still, the great and mighty decision day is somewhere at the beginning of May. That’s when, if she still doesn’t have a job, we have to sit down and have a serious talk about things. Like, do we abandon the idea of buying a house and live on our house deposit? And if so, how long can we carry on like that?

We’re also forging ahead with the embarrassing plan of me going out to colleges and schools to talk about being a successful playwright. Now, it’s embarrassing for me because, much as I love to talk about myself and my “work”, I don’t feel nearly grown-up enough for this. I feel like I ought to go out and read plays by the greats of British Theatre so I can waffle about the influences of Pinter and Potter, but that would be lying. I wasn’t influenced by Pinter (except that I was influenced to change the channel when a documentary about him came on TV once…) and the Dennis Potter things I’ve seen have made me wince. But am I allowed to say “I don’t like Pinter” or will serious students dismiss me as a know-nothing Bozo? Some of my plays have won awards, and I don’t think anything I’ve written and published hasn’t sold somewhere. The more popular plays are performed dozens, sometimes hundreds of times a year. I have the right to hold my head up, but does that mean I should stick it over the parapet?

The point is that my writing is a useful minor income. The script reading and appraisal stuff I do is slightly more minor. To earn a serious amount of money I have to do something a bit more ambitious. I have to write something for tv or film (a long and drawn out process that, frankly, a lot of other people are doing…) I have to complete a major project that’ll sell like hot cakes (two of which are in the pipeline, but won’t be done for another year or so.) or I have to try selling myself on my artistic merits. Selling my body wouldn’t work unless I could charge by the pound.

I can’t beat Mrs Dim’s earning potential, but by taking up some of the strain I can reduce the stress associated with buying groceries. In the meantime we have a roof over our heads, the furnace has been fixed and the washer and drier are new. I can live without a skateboard for a bit longer.

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