hurt at the hand of scissors (or hurt in the hand by scissors)

24Jan10

Yesterday was a bit of a funny one. A series of Saturdayish mishaps.

First I set up my serious writing space. This is the writing space I reserve for writing stints of four hours or longer. I actually don’t use it much at all. I’m usually at the kitchen table.

Serious writing space has an elaborate and very clever USB contraption which allows me to fasten just two thingies to my laptop and I am fully wired up with big monitors and external everything. (Printer is wireless, so I can print from bed if I like. Sometimes I do like. Just because I can.)

So yesterday afternoon I sat down to write – a clear evening ahead. I mucked around for quite a bit updating my lastfm writing playlist (very important – I considered this activity to be ‘ground work’, in no way associated with the act of procrastination).

The cats came slinking in. I had my laptop stationed in front of the mothership (monitors, wireless mouse, external keyboard, external hard drives and so on) but really I was just using the laptop. Oh, apart from when I played Bejeweled 2. The wireless mouse came in very handy for that. For the record, I am not totally deluded. When I played Bejeweled 2 I was totally procrastinating (although I was also contemplating plot stuff as well, so you could call that procrastination with a hint of multitasking). 

Just as I went to commence writing proper, something very odd started happening to my laptop. Strange things were being highlighted and buttons were pushing themselves. Strange messages were appearing on my screen. Cntrl + Alt + Delete failed me utterly.

Our antivirus protection expired a couple of months ago and I hadn’t renewed it. In a slight state of panic, fearing for my unbacked-up two-thirds-complete manuscript, I fled the house and made my way in a blur across town to Noel Leeming, where I forked over cash in the hope of redeeming whatever I might have lost at the hand of cyber evil and degeneracy.

Upon returning to my serious workstation, the cause of the ‘virus’ became immediately clear to me. I now call her Sylvievirus. Danger in a cute and deceptively fluffy package. Sylvie, her love affair with keyboard-sprawling already well known to me, was stretched out on the external keyboard, partially obscured by the screen of my laptop (although I had known she was there before I exited the house in a state of irrationality, so I can’t claim ignorance, only idiocy).

Oh, well, I’d been meaning to get around to the virus protection software eventually. So not a complete waste of time, although by then the afternoon had well and truly passed me by.

By this time, a little defeated but also a bit smug at coming out of a close shave unscathed, with all my words quite safe, it was time for a glass of wine. As I drink alone these days, I poured a drink and settled upon a suitable activity. Finishing the latest batch of 50 cards seemed appropriate, especially as I had discovered a big new craft knife in my playroom.

The lightbulbs in our kitchen have blown, so I sat in dim lamplight with SJD and The XX playing and set to work. I am truly at one with myself when I am making stuff like this. I completely zone out. Simon headed out the door to the Matterhorn, but I had special dispensation because I was on a ‘writing weekend’.

Hold on, I will give you an example of what I was doing.

(Plus in pretty much every other colour of the rainbow.)

Things went swimmingly, for a while. About 2.5 glasses in I ran the craft knife through the top of my index finger. I ruined a few cards in the process. Some skin flapped. I won’t go into much more detail.

But I did have a thought at the time, as it happened, and it’s that I’d like to talk about. (Not the bloodshed or pieces of shredded nail…)

In my philosophy class last year, one of the things we discussed one night was whether your essence ever changes, over time. Whether you’re born one person and die another. Whether at the core of things, in amongst a lifetime of change, there is an unchangeable ‘you’. How much of us just is, inexorably, and how much of us comes to be? You could call on the nature/nurture argument but it’s not quite that.

So much changes, that’s the thing. Even the way we are changes. The things we do and like. The way we look. The people we love. I thought a lot about it. Maybe we are all just protean. With a few genetic predispositions thrown in. Maybe we hold onto an idea of ourselves that slowly morphs and adapts over time. But maybe that’s all it is: an idea.

I have come to a conclusion, though. There is an essential ‘you’. I base this on the only roughly empirical evidence I could draw on. Me.

Going back to the first memories I have, the first time I remember myself as a whole person, capable of reflection and consideration, I still want exactly the same things that I did then. It’s still the same me. Frighteningly so. I didn’t know any of this back then, obviously. I didn’t know what would eventuate, but none of it is at all surprising to me.

So, when I carved my finger up yesterday night, I had a flashback, deja vu, call it what you will, which confirmed to me that I’m the same person I always was.

On the very same index finger I have a 23 year-old scar, also from card-making. I was making a birthday card for Karen Shieff’s birthday. I cut the pad of my finger with a pair of scissors. Stupidly I ran around the house looking for sympathy or adults (neither to be found), shaking my hand. I got blood all down the white hallway.

Yesterday I didn’t shake my hand too much. But the experience took me right back there. And I realised something. That is, I will probably always be making cards. And injuring myself. Whether I like it or not. And that I am the same person. I felt yesterday just like I did 23 or so years ago. It’s a strange thing to realise. But nicer that than not recognising yourself at all (like when I look at my driver’s licence).

On that note, the stationery shop I have been talking about starting up is now open for business. Or it least it will be in the next 24 hours, I’m told. You can visit me here, and think about the bloody injuries I have sustained in my labour of paper love.

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One Response to “hurt at the hand of scissors (or hurt in the hand by scissors)”

  1. Love the cards and yay, you’re finally on Felt 🙂 Though i hope these ones are sans blood.

    Haha, silly sylvie. What is it with your cats and keyboards? It seems to be the only form of chaise chat available! I’ve also found that the cat hair that gets stuck in the keyboard is equally dangerous!


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