I might have happily settled back into Winchester life, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been one or two teething problems. One is my lack of campus Internet connection – the last post was written in the public library, and this one is being composed in my favourite coffee spot, the Open House Deli – and the other is me not having properly got to know my (very nice) flatmates yet. Together, what these both mean is that I’ve had a very interesting weekend thus far, as I can’t really entertain myself or hang out with anyone else. So what do I do when I’m in that situation?
First, I go into town, and I stay there for as long as I can. Not only does this get me some fresh air, but it benefits my wheelchair too, draining its battery as far as it’ll go (I only like to charge it when absolutely necessary). While I’m doing this, I daydream – but not without also looking where I’m going on those busy city streets – and I observe what goes on around me, because anything can be inspiration, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Then, eventually, I find that much-needed safe haven where I can get into the swing of things. A balance of busy and quiet often works for me, because if a place is too quiet, I can think of nothing else, and no work will be done. When I get that balance right, I start scribbling or bashing away at the keyboard, and on a day like today I don’t stop until there’s absolutely nothing more running through my head.
I do my best to multitask, and I’ve juggled my latest set of solo book club notes – on the brilliant One Million Tiny Plays About Britain by Craig Taylor – with all the useful details I can think of ahead of my interview on Wednesday. All of the different duties I’ve performed, every stressful situation I found myself in at each workplace, that kind of thing. After all, the more forthcoming I am when I’m asked those questions, the more likely I am to get the job. If there’s anywhere I don’t want an awkward silence, it’s there!
It’s a satisfying process, but it feels a bit like mental gymnastics. I’m pushing myself further and further, because if I run out of things to say I’ll have to go home, and then I won’t have anything to do or anyone to talk to. So I keep going, and if I pause at any point, I stroke my chin, or I look at the four walls around me, and I try to refocus. The fruits of this labour, which I can see now at the end of the day, are in black and white on the pages of my notebooks. I feel much better about my job interview, and I’ve even decided on my next book and written an introductory paragraph about it – I’m going to reappraise Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I seem to have clearly demonstrated the benefits of having no Internet access in a matter of hours, and they almost make me want to disconnect more often, but who am I kidding? I love getting out and about, but when the web is up and running again, I definitely won’t be taking the ability to surf in the privacy of my room for granted. It’ll be especially useful over the next few months.