Reading, writing, plans (and cricket)

First week back at work after the Christmas break and already I can feel my mood’s a bit down and the enthusiasm is not quite there. It’s partly the heat but there’s also the looming deadline of finding more work by the end of April when my community service ends. I’m also due to write the Psychology Board Exam in four weeks’ time and I haven’t started studying yet. I told P that this is the Year of the House and the Job. As soon as I can find another job and can guarantee some steady income, we can think of finding our own house and moving in together.

I’m feeling hopeful but also rather anxious about the job story. At the moment I’m resisting the idea of staying on in the military because of the mandatory deployment for about 6 months to an African hotspot. I also can’t see myself staying in a military environment for more than a couple of years. The house is another headache, and I’m hoping that my tenants in Joburg will be able to buy my house there in a few months, which will allow me to buy something down here.

The reading and writing goals are much less anxiety-inducing and should be quite fun. I’ve mentioned my to-be-read books here already but I’ve since added a few. The list as is currently stands (and in no particular order):

1000 Books to change your life (TimeOut)
The Black Book (Pamuk)
The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (Freud)
Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Jung)
Sexing the Cherry
Three Letter Plague
The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch)
Digging to America
Close to the Wind (Pete Goss)

The last one should be the lightest of the lot and is about a heroic Brit who sacrificed his own hopes of winning the solo round-the-world yacht race to save another competitor. It’s not my usual read but was recommended by a friend who refused to take it back until I’d read it! The Freud and Jung should be interesting and will give me a chance to revisist where I stand in relation to two of the ‘greats’. I was trying to think of a book that had changed my life, and I remembered reading Jung when I was in my post-matric year and getting ready to study a BA and then Law. I like to think that Jung sowed the seeds of a return to psychology, and I’m looking forward to reading it again almost 21 years later.

On the writing side, everything’s on hold until I write (and pass) the Board exam. I’ll probably post some reviews in the meantime, and I really want to write some psychology articles this year. My “violence project” is totally becalmed, and I think it’s really difficult to sustain a focus on a topic like that for an extended period of time. It’s a bit like looking at trauma. My mind keeps drifting away to more comfortable topics. Fun! Diversion! Making a Psychology Mix. Anything not so very serious. After my board exam I’ll maybe have another look at it or shelve it altogether.

Speaking of fun, the drama at the Sydney Cricket Ground swelled our little SA hearts. There’s nothing like a wounded captain (Graeme Smith) soldiering on in the face of a losing effort and almost saving the game to bring a tear to the eye. Reminds me of a story about the Aussie cricketing legends Alan Border and Dean Jones. Or maybe it was Jones and Steve Waugh. Anyway, the Aussies had their backs to the wall and were batting to save the test match. Jones had bad gastro and was sick as a dog. After batting for about half an hour, he walked down the pitch and told his captain (Border) that he just couldn’t carry on and would need to retire hurt. “That’s fine, mate” said Border tersely. ‘When you get to the changing-room, ask them to send out an Australian.” Ouch! Poor Jones batted on and made a hundred. I suppose it’s all about tenacity and true grit. But another part of me thinks that’s just foolish, and typical male stubborness and lack of empathy. I like to think there’s a middle ground between soldiering on blindly (and foolishly) and persevering when the going’s tough. Any thoughts?

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11 Responses to Reading, writing, plans (and cricket)

  1. Dolce says:

    Ooooh. Moving in together….serious stuff?

  2. doctordi says:

    As an Australian, that cricket quote makes me laugh out loud (and hats off to SA, Pete – lots of long faces around these parts over the past couple of weeks, but I think it’s great). I think the cricketers in particular are so well known, so notorious, for crippling sledging like this that I am prepared to give the quote the benefit of the doubt. And it did work, it seems, so yes, whilst not the most empathetic hearing when your arse is a burning ring of fire, you have to admit it obviously lit another one.

    Good luck with the Year of the House and the Job – they’re pretty fundamental, and it makes life a lot more manageable and enjoyable when both are off and sailing with spinnakers.

  3. Emily says:

    the winterson is next on my list.

    good luck on the whole job thing!

  4. Litlove says:

    I know I favour the empathetic, gentle approach, so the cricket captain’s remarks sound ludicrous to me. What if the guy had developed complications, or become dehydrated and had to be hospitalised? I’m sure in the bloke world you don’t feel guilt when a game’s at stake, but that’s what makes men walk into wars. The more you can objectify the other person, reduce their humanity, ignore their pain, well, the more you open the door onto a range of extremely unpleasant behaviours. But what can I say? I’m a girl! I like people to play nice.

    Not surprised you are a bit down when you have such a mountain of goals stacked up ahead of you. In the interests of improving your game play, might it be possible to ditch or at least down grade some of the big life changers and thus keep the outlook more manageable and therefore, more pleasant? I used to think that doing it all at once would simply free up this beautiful space afterwards when I could then catch up with all the mental and emotional adjustments necessary and move off into a sunlit future. Ha! Is all I have to say to that.

  5. That is a mountain of goals, as Litlove says! Good luck with everything 2009 holds for you. I hope your reading provides some kind of escape and comfort.

  6. Pete says:

    Dolce – Hello! And, haha, yes that does make it look very grown-up and serious, doesn’t it? One step at a time …

    Di – Yes, I thought you would find that one funny (and interesting to hear an Aussie take on it). I’m sure I got the quote a bit wrong but the gist of it’s right. Maybe we men need a good fight for motivation? And thanks for the good wishes. Sailing with spinnakers would be a big bonus right now.

    Emily – Thanks very much. You mean you find time for reading amongst all the daily drama? Multi-tasking I guess. Which reminds me that I need to go and read the latest on What Zach did next 😉

    Litlove – Thanks so much for your valuable words of advice! I do tend to think that now I’m 38 I should be all grown-up and get everything all sorted out: job, home, relationship etc. And of course it doesn’t work that way, as you point out. So maybe I should take things one step at a time, and allow more time for reflection on the way. Not easy with the body and other clocks ticking in my ear. And thanks for a feminine perspective on the male stubborness / true grit thing. It’s funny how men support each other and totally undermine each other almost in the same breath. As an SA man, I believed for a long time that to be competitive you actually couldn’t afford to “play nice”. But now I think it’s a lot more complicated than that and I like the complexity.

    Charlotte – Thanks very much. With books and blogs to distract me, I can see that studying will be an uphill struggle. But then, I guess it’s always an unpleasant chore. I’ll have to ration my reading as a reward.

  7. adevotedreader says:

    I’m a woman but I’m also an Australian, and Pete this was cricket we’re talking about!!!

    I’ve developed a grudging respect for the SA team and Smith although I’m relieved we won at the SCG and retained the #1 ranking. Roll on the one dayers.

    Good luck with your exam and sorting out the house and job. Reading wise, it will be interesting to see what you and the Slaves of Golconda group make of Sexing the Cherry.

  8. Bee says:

    Pete, Have you heard of a novel called “Netherland,” by Joseph O’Neill? Cricket, and identity issues, play important roles in the plot. Perhaps I shouldn’t give you any more reading ideas, though . . . it sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate!

    As for your Aussie story, I think that sort of machismo is nutty. But perhaps it is about grit and tenacity. Interestingly enough, I read an article in the Guardian Sports Monthly that speculates why Australian sport is at such a nadir at the moment.

  9. Emily Barton says:

    Good luck with the job and house. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on all the books and to reading anything you want to write in 2009.

  10. Dick says:

    ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ was something a life changer for me. Don’t leave it too long!

  11. Pete says:

    Devoted – Thanks for the good wishes. It’s good to hear a woman so passionate about cricket. You guys destroyed us in the 20/20 but it was fun to watch. And as for Sexing the Cherry, it’s pretty strong stuff (just read about the Twelve Princesses). Also very interested to read what those in the know make of it.

    Bee – Have heard of Netherland and will be interested to read it when it finally makes its way down here. The Aussie story sounds good too – will check it out.

    Emily B – Thanks, and likewise. Looking forward to more of your Musical meditations . travel-writing etc.

    Dick – Hello! Have just started it again and am really enjoying it. Started at the back this time – with the letters from Freud to Jung. Fascinating.

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