Way back in the seventies (yes I’m old enough to remember the seventies) there was an advert on telly for a particular chocolate bar. I can’t remember what the name of the chocolate was (even Google doesn’t seem to know). I just remembered that it was stretchy. Really stretchy. You’d put it in your mouth and you couldn’t just bite a block off. Instead, you’d stretch it and stretch it and stretch it.
I couldn’t help thinking about that ad lately, because that’s how my brain feels at the moment. It feels like it’s being stretched and stretched and stretched, exactly like that chocolate. Only not just in one direction. I feel like my brain is being stretched in multiple directions, all at the same time.
It’s not as if this is a completely new thing. Like most people, I’ve usually had conflicting demands on my mental load. Only in these current times of pandemic and lockdown, everything seems that bit more acute. Doing little things, even just going out of the house, generate a lot more stress than they used to. Not to mention the lack of surety as to how long this is going to go on for and how it will end.
Of course, work is always something that tugs hard on my mind. Working from home adds several units of power to the force of that tug, and at the moment, the threat of redundancy adds several more. And the nature of my work at the moment isn’t helping. I mentioned a few weeks ago about how I was becoming re-acquainted with the world of maths. Well at this point I’m not sure how well-received that new friendship is. Maths, maths, maths. It’s swirling around in my head. I could write a mathematical equation to define the strength and direction of the pull – but I don’t think I will.
Which still leaves the writing. Yes, I do love the writing. But finding the time amidst everything else going on feels like an extra pull in another direction. And when I do find that time, what am I supposed to be working on? Do I keep going with the novel, or write another picture book, or maybe go back to that chapter book idea from last year? Stretch, stretch, stretch. It just never seems to end.
So what will happen if my brain keeps getting stretched? Will it somehow manage to find that inner island of strength that will allow me to keep it all together? Or will it end up being torn into multiple pieces, rendering me stark raving mad? Or has that already happened? I guess there’s only one way to find out.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as