Essay

Enormous Eye

August 15, 2016
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In August 2015, eager to shake myself out of a writing slump, I wrote a diary of a random Saturday inspired by the Enormous Eye series. Today, exactly one year later, I’m sharing it.

7ish: Wake up. The room is lighter. I’m conscious enough to know that I should get up, but that thought slips away easily in my pleasant slumber.

8.08am: Wake up properly. Feel like a bad ass, which makes a nice change. Usually, I wake up feeling positive but a bit perturbed. I was dreaming about ISIS – might be why I feel like a badass. Badassery may also be due to the late night trip I took to the fridge for Aero. A lot of Aero. I will need to buy more today. Feel kind of jittery – the sugar is still in my system, but a pleasant, even, lazy high.

8.18am: Have moved myself to the couch, where I settle in for morning pages. I don’t even think of them as ‘morning pages’ anymore – I think of them as a little chat and because I live on my own, I just talk (write) out what’s going on. It’s very important for me. It’s not always easy. This morning it is. I write 7 moleskine pages and feel tremendously accomplished because my goal at the moment is just to write stuff, get words on paper and not worry about the quality. The last few pages are a transcription of a media interview that I’ve been having in my head the last few days – nice to see it on paper, see where the intersections sit. See that it is, in fact, an article that will one day be published.

9.26am: Decide that it’s time to get to work, and elect to shower first so that I feel a bit fresher and can work straight through until my work thing later. Turn on the immersion, set my timer for 20 minutes and have a dance. Today’s soundtrack: Shut Up & Dance (twice) & a little Kishi Bashi (which I found via Death, Sex & Money). Run around doing jobs – washing delph, getting my computer set up, take a shower – notice that the bathroom smells like the drain and elect to buy something nicer smelling to put in there. Make breakfast and drop the blueberries on the floor. Say ‘shit’ out loud and then feel better, pick me up, double wash and toss ‘em in my porridge. Cruise on Instagram. Decide not to do my eyebrows.

10.39: Feel annoyed that I am only now getting down to “work”. Soothe that feeling by remembering that I’m documenting this day for Enormous Eye and thus, all that faffing around has had a purpose (or at least will be assigned a purpose by being recorded – it is content).

Have blueberries & porridge with cold milk for breakfast, at my desk, beside my to do list. Know that I need to leave in 3 hours and that my to do list will take at least twice that time. Feel stressed, decide to make a plan after I’ve eaten. Check the headlines – save lots of stories about ISIS to read later on Instapaper. (I heart Instapaper.)

11.04: Miss Facebook, want to go to take a look at a particular person (a boy!) in particular. Stick to my guns and stay away. Drink a few pints of water. Swallow a Vitamin C pill.

11.36: Decide to stop working because I don’t want to spend my Saturday morning, shuffling around all this adminy/writery work when I really want to either write or read or sit on the couch and think. Start researching an article I want to write on Nuala O’Faolain. Find a clip of Nuala telling the nation that she sometimes had sex with people “just for the exercise”. Laugh for ages.

11.44: Start listening to Nuala O’Faolain’s heartbreaking interview with Marian Finucane (MP3). She was diagnosed with cancer & given weeks to live, about 7 months after my own mother died. Start to cry. Have to stop recording twice – it’s too raw. Remember telling my kind-hearted counsellor about it, remember hearing it live and being flummoxed by it. Think that Nuala could be one of my Awakeners, a concept I got from Kate Bolick’s book ‘Spinster’. Think Lena Dunham is another Awakener. No idea who the others could be.

12.23: Scramble some eggs and eat them, though they are rubbery. Chop a pink lady apple, but cover it with a saucepan lid rather than eat it.

1pm: Realise I need to leave soon. Blast some music, get ready, get out the door.

1.20: On my way out, I see that my books have arrived in the post. Delighted. Sense that I probably won’t be going out tonight since my books have arrived. Sometimes I buy books aspirationally (“I wish I was the kind of person who’d read that book”) and I usually do eventually read them. These books are perfect for who I am today.

1.22: Occasionally, I have to work out of hours. Today was a small photoshoot in store of a corporate partner. We’ve a model and some kids, branded leaflets and a man in a bear suit. It was kind of crazy – both because the store was covered in tacky shit and because, you know, kids, face painting, nail painting, all of those things are not in my sweet spot. I am relieved when it’s over.

3.04: I walk home, stopping for more Aero. I love that I live in a place that you can walk 3 streets from the crazy, centre of town and there will be green, leafy silence. That’s the best.

3.13: On the way, I pass the Irish rugby team boarding the bus for their match this afternoon. A crowd had formed. I thought about how we honour men’s experiences more than women’s. I saw Paul O’Connell’s big happy head and smiled. He’s a lovely guy, someone with a work ethic and sense of determination to admire. I wish we had a female version of him in the media – famous women tend to be known for their appearance more than anything else.

3.17: I’m still thinking about Nuala and the rugby guys. How Liz Gilbert got a much bigger platform after ‘Eat Pray Love’, and used that platform to say really interesting stuff about women and life. How, when I researched Nuala this morning, I exhausted everything on the internet in about 30 mins. Her documentary (1), her books (3) & one well known radio interview, one clip on the Late Late. I think of the acres and acres of content there are on male writers of her generation. I feel sad, and determined to find out everything I can about her.

3.20: I have an extended dialogue with myself about what I’ll do when I get home. Initially I think I’ll make the lasange I’ve been looking forward to. Then, I remember that pot of carbonara that’s in the fridge. I don’t want to waste it. I decide to convert it into a pasta bake (put cheese on it & bake for 30 mins) and so don’t need to cook.

3.21: I’m trying to decide about going out tonight. A friend is leaving to study abroad and there are plans to celebrate. I decide against it: alcohol makes me unsteady and I really want some time to myself to be quiet and read. Decide that I need to tell someone about the photoshoot but can’t think of anything to put in a text message except “ugh kids”. Elect not to send it, because I quite like children.

3.26: Get home and my period has started. Hooray! Definitely not going out. Must log that in my period app – I didn’t used to like period tracking app, not wanting to be hacked and have someone know what was happening in my internal organs. Now, I’m OK with that. Still, I might edit this out – not so good for the whole internet to know my cycle. Though man, I wish we talked about periods more. Women are mammals etc.

3.40: Home. Get the pasta bake on. Open my books, flip through and feel so happy/excited.

4.06: Dip into Instagram for a break. Text my sister. Eat my apple. Turn off oven. Decide to eat dinner, rest a bit and then read all night. Consider glass of wine – know that I won’t, chocolate instead.

4.08: Fear that the rest of this entry will be very dull – I plan on reading and writing and maybe watching some TV. Very excited about this as an evening plan.

4.30: I watch some Graham Norton & eat my dinner. It’s tastier than I expected it to be. CHEESE!

5.47: Reading on the couch starts to hurt my back to I moved to my bed. Seemed too early for a 27 year old woman to be in bed alone on a Saturday night, but I want to be cozy. I read some more – flitting between books and essays and staying away from ISIS. Books in rotation: ‘Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on their unshakable love for New York’, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, Blackout. I took Paracetamol for cramps and Aero for energy. Period exhaustion is real.

7.37ish: At some point, I can’t read anymore. My brain felt too full for that. I danced some more and then lay on my bed starfish-shaped in the cool, dark air.

8.09: I’m so cozy. Feel the cool blankets in the crook of my knee, the cool side of the pillow. I’m think about the future, of writing, of New York, of boys, of family. I listen to music and daydream.

Early, before 10, I fall asleep.

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