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  • Writer's pictureDamian Robb

morning pages | 21/04/2023

It’s been a big few weeks. But then, it feels as if that statement is perpetually true. That the quiet weeks are always just over the horizon, a little oasis of calm waiting for me if I can just get through the hecticness of the present. Putting that aside for a moment, it genuinely has been a big few weeks.

Holly’s birthday led to an incredibly enjoyable trip to Tassie, which quickly led into the easter weekend and a trip to my hometown to catch up with friends and their every growing mob of kids, kids who while adorable are also filthy in that way only kids can be, meaning every time I catch up with them I get a sickness of one kind or another (and admittedly I love playing fun uncle too much and so part of this is on me). That led to a few hazy days at the end of which I ran a writers pub crawl through Carlton, attended numerous comedy shows as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and started teaching a new course at the studio. In amongst all that was the usual bits of living; working, socialising, general maintenance.

Being busy is no bad thing, but there is always a tax to be paid. Physical, mental, or financial. On the Wednesday just gone, I taught the first session of a short course, Introduction to Screenwriting. This was the day the tax man came knocking. I always have some nervousness before teaching a class, but on this day it was compounded by the previous week and a half of feeling sick and busy. 

Mentally, I was a bit shit. I knew why, being sick meant I hadn’t been active or physical, plus I had a general lingering lethargy, and so it felt like one of those days where try as I might, everything was going wrong, that I was failing at whatever task I put my mind to. All of which wearied me further and made the idea of teaching that evening feel like a weight dragging me to the bottom of an ocean. The reality was, it was a fairly normal day, but like I said; mentally, I was a bit shit. 

A very tasty falafel wrap for dinner perked me up some, and soon I was setting up for the class and welcoming everyone in. Then, emotional whiplash. The class went great, I had a terrific group of students, they had some choice ideas for what they wanted to work on, and soon we were all nerding out over the fun and potential of story. I was buzzing with adrenaline and success. There was no more weight dragging me down, I was skimming across the water like a damn dolphin! 

The next day, I was exhausted. Such is the way, there’s always a tax to be paid.

But, I think the reality is that life will always feel busy, because living is engrossing. Just existing can feel like a lot. Having to think all the thoughts can feel like a lot. Being a person is a lot. The tricky part for me is accepting this. Of letting go of that imaginary oasis of idleness and instead finding the calm amongst all the busy. 

On one of the comedy show nights, Holly and I had planned a perfect evening. We would see two shows, one at four thirty, another at seven, have dinner in between, home by nine. Gorgeous. But it was not to be because our second show got pushed back by two hours. It was a Saturday, it was festival time, it was raining, and so everywhere we went to kill time before our second show was full. It didn’t matter where we went, there was a wall of bodies waiting for us. So, we walked in the rain. We wandered the city, stopped for a hot chocolate, and ended up in an alcove of an old building watching the people and the water and doing crosswords on my phone. We were bored. Blessedly bored. Here was idleness. Here was calm. And yes, we might have preferred to have been in our bed, reading books or watching tv, but we weren’t, because life is busy, but we had each other and we had the rain and for that short moment we had time to kill, and that was all I’d been wanting.

The second show was good, we had a few chuckles, exited out back into the rain, and headed home. Ready for another big week.


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