It seemed quite a downer the other night to head off to bed knowing that I only had three more weeks of this sabbatical leave to go. Then a little voice pulled me over into the corner (do your little voices do that?) and reminded me that this would be longer than any holiday I had taken in the last twelve years. Thanks, little voice.
I have met a few people over the last couple of weeks as I wandered around town. The way the questions are phrased can be interesting. There are very different, qualitative answers to:
How's it going?
Are you looking forward to coming back to work?
How have you got on?
Pretty soon after the sabbatical began I knew that I should not beat myself up about outcomes. I have done lots of writing, but far more reading than I anticipated. That was a surprise but not a problem.
But with a work of fiction to try and finish (now plotted out and ready to be completed), being in the company of Peter Carey and Jim Crace can be depressing. Why would anyone ever attempt a sentence again while these two walk the earth?
I'll do it.
One thing I know I will need to do is be careful going back to conversations with groups of people. I haven't done much of that. Over this last weekend there were a couple of points in a small social situation when I wanted to run away. I had clear things to say and was interrupted and then the interruption was interrupted and by the time four more minutes had passed it felt rude to continue 'As I was saying...' Too self-important. Ten weeks free of small talk has been a blessing. Making someone who hates parties go to church to celebrate every Sunday has been crueller than you can imagine.
Just because you have cleared your head don't expect everyone else will have done so.
So to answer my questions:
Going away for a few days retreat next week. Catching up with friends for the weekend first.