My latest task has been finishing the third draft of my novel. It is now with readers from my writing group. I’m feeling less bereft this time – after the second draft, I felt like a lost soul looking for something to do.
This time, I have plenty to do – what with the credit crunch/recession. I have made several changes to my life-style since falling interest rates (yes, I’m one of those) have left large holes in my pocket. Clarins moisturiser that used to cost me over R400, has been replaced with one from L’Oreal (about R100, from Clicks), Olive Oil with Canola Oil and no more colouring of hair in hairdressers (R300+) but DIY. In fact, I haven’t coloured my hair for the last three months and people say it looks good – the light brown, almost blonde, from the last colouring (again L’Oreal from Clicks), is mixing well with the grey. My philosophy, now, is it doesn’t matter what colour your hair is, as long as it looks healthy and shiny (I use conditioner every day). I no longer buy cartons of cigarettes, only packets (bet that will get a reaction). And I’ve found an office!
How is an office a cost-saving device, you ask. Well, I’ve been writing from restaurants. In the beginning, it was only a few times per week – I didn’t want to camp in someone else’s backyard, as it were. And when the embarrassment wore off, it became every day of the week, but at two different restaurants. The waiters now bring me my coffee with hot milk without me asking. For the weeks leading up to my third draft, I’d arrive at Driftwood Café at 8 in the morning (often their first customer) and leave at about 11. Then go to Chaplins or Spur or CTFM, for the afternoon session.
This has become problematic, not because some restaurant staff have become so used to me, they don’t mind having work-squabbles in front of me, but because of the costs. I did the calculations: four cups of coffee a day = R50, times that by 5 (days) and then by 4 (weeks), you get R1000.00 per month spent on coffee!! And that’s without a toasted sandwich or a nibble of sushi!
After many enquiries, my friend and fellow-writer, Dawn (she’s excellent, you should read her stuff), has organized an office for me at the church where she works. It will be half-day at R300 per month, so that’s at least a R200 saving on my morning sessions. I’m very excited about this and can’t wait to start. But before that, I have other things to do.
While I’m waiting for feedback on the third draft of my novel, I’ve switched my mind back to academic matters. I’m taking on more masters students from NMMU, what? you ask. That’s the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, a mouth-full you’ll agree. Used to be UPE, I call it MU for short. I’ve been supervising student research projects for the last few years (remotely, never met any of them) quite successfully. I’m busy devising my own project that they can slot into which will make things easier for them and hoping to get more students to bolster my income.
I’m also planning two new academic books, one on ‘Gender and Work’ (something I have lots of experience of), the other on ‘Development and Gender’. I’m also considering a third and fourth one – ‘A Practical Introduction to Social Research’ and ‘Families – A Global Perspective’ (with strong references to SA). This year, I’ll also be teaching French classes. Got 2 adult and 2 children as students but would like more. So, if you know anyone who wants to ‘Parlez la langue,’ please let me know.
Let’s hold thumbs the feedback on the third draft of my novel doesn’t require too many changes and I can finally send it off to a publisher and get stuck into these other tasks before tackling my next novel. I have ideas for at least five more. Can’t wait!