7am is a long way in the future and I’m already on a train at Clapham Junction, heading out southward for what is laughably classed as a “local” job by one of my many employers, to the extent that they won’t refund me for transport. 45 minutes in a car, if only I had one. Over 2 hours and £25 on public transport, which is a significant portion of what I’m being paid. This place is in the middle of nowhere. I’m going to be threading through villages on sleepy buses. And for what? Well, so I can maybe help some kids who live in the middle of nowhere to reach a deeper understanding of their potential. And get them writing their first CV.

I don’t feel like being energy Al today. I feel like I’ve spread myself on toast. Sometimes I feel beauty in the early mornings but today I just feel loss. But I’ve got my laptop, in a shitty bag again. I’ve got a USB stick. I’ve got a load of example CVs in laminate. And I’ve got my mask. I’ve got this. Apparently. Because I have to.

There’s a restlessness that’s woken up in me recently and it’s fucking with my calm. The part of me that just remains unfazed no matter what – its getting fazed. Because I don’t want my life to be donated by inches. Today I’ll do this. Then I’ll go home and immediately have to learn something else to do tomorrow – something even harder and just as far away, that doesn’t feed my heart either no matter how I spin it. When the money comes in I’ll have forgotten these feelings, or at least taped up their screaming mouths. But this is not what I was put on this earth to do, whether or not I’m good at it. This is not sustainable. This is not what I signed up for. I am going to eat myself if this goes on.

The next station is Woking. Off I go. Still not 7am. Still not happy about this. It’s how I sustain my existence, how I weather the gaps between acting jobs. But this gap? So long now. Normally I’d have a summer job. A Shakespeare or something in Edinburgh. A tour. Everything crashed down. I’m staring down the chances of July August September October November just dripping away into the pan before they wheel me out as Scrooge again. Wilderness Festival. Three days in August to dress up and do something performative, like a prisoner looking out of an arrow slit. Then back in the box until humbug.

This money today and tomorrow and Thursday. I’m gonna earmark it, and convert it. It’s gonna add to my budget for a holiday where I shake this shit off. I need to walk and leave some stuff behind me. I’m fed up of the webs around my feet. I feel somehow like I let things come to this by valuing calm so highly. There’s a snake in my guts that has started screaming and it’s coming up out of my neck.

It’s about identifying the right calm versus the right attack. There are things I’m making. There are things I believe in. I’m still dreaming. I’m dreaming hard. I have no regrets, because everything has sharpened me to this kindness with an edge. But if you don’t like the shape of the world, change it. And I don’t. So I must.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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