Housekeeping

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The author when young

Laws governing truck driving in Western Australia allow us to work 17 hours per day – 15 hours driving, 2 hours breaks – up to 12 days a fortnight, and when we’re busy that’s what we work. I’m not complaining, I’m 66 now and seven hours mandated sleep per night suits me fine. The problem is, last year we weren’t busy and I got in the habit of writing and posting a couple of thousand words every week.

Since I got back from holidays I have been busy and today, for the first time in a while, I found myself with nothing ready to publish. I think that is going to happen more often. At the moment I have the last Brent of Bin Bin novel, Back to Bool Bool read, with lots of notes and ready in my mind to write up. I’ll probably get it done today for posting next Tuesday, and the way things go, I could easily get tomorrow off as well and another post knocked up, and be temporarily back on track for two posts a week. As x-Mrs Legend texted recently “It’s always a flood or a droubt with you” (she uses the same spell “checker” as Sue Whispering Gums).

I’m not just getting behind with my writing, I’m getting behind with my reading. In Seasons Greeting 2016 I listed half a dozen new books I had on my shelves waiting to be reviewed. They’re still there. I mostly carry old books around with me and my next review will be Gerald Murnane’s Landscape with Landscape, I’m about half way through and so far I’m loving it.

While I’m working, my best reading time is if I’m stuck in a queue waiting to load, and while I’m unloading (I’m a tanker driver and the unloading largely does itself) but  my first priority – since I ditched newspapers – is emails and news, generally Crikey, then books, though the last two ABRs are also sitting in the truck unread.

Luckily I get to spend a lot of that 15 hours a day driving time listening to audio books. And I’ve joined a new library, Vic Park. So this week I’ve listened to Mr Darcy’s Daughters (a romp, though I don’t believe Elizabeth would have let her daughters get that wild), Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, Jo Nesbo’s The Son (a Norwegian thriller), and I’m currently a few chapters into Lionel Shriver’s Big Brother, which I plan to review.

Over the rest of the year I’ll get to those six books at the head of the ‘new book’ TBR and to which I have added The Museum of Modern Love and Bloodlines; I’ll press on with Miles Franklin – there’s Old Blastus, All That Swagger and Joseph Furphy to go (and I’ve never directly reviewed My Brilliant Career); there’s new and secondhand books which will leap out and bite me – I bought half a dozen oldish Australians from Save the Children this morning; and there’s libraries full of audio books.

So, I’m sorry to let you down today, I’m sorry to let me down, I enjoy what I’m doing here but unfortunately not driving is not an option. Not yet anyhow.

 

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19 thoughts on “Housekeeping

  1. No pressure from this end – I think we are all time-poor. I don’t get to read all the posts you write so if there are fewer I might get to read them all 😊. The important thing is that you are still reading (or listening). I listen to audiobooks a lot too and intersperse my library borrowings with a one-book per month paid subscription which means I can buy some of the latest and greatest.

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    • Thanks for your answer. There seems to be a stream of thought in blogging theory that readers tend to follow bloggers who post more – have no idea whether or not that is true. I’m going to have to improve how I review audio books – at the moment I listen to them, then some time later, if I can, I borrow the physical book (for quotes and looking stuff up) and write the review. I think I’ll have to make notes as I go (when I stop the truck!). I’m resistant to buying audio books, the prices seem quite high, but once I have an NBN subscription I’ll have to look at that scheme you’re on.

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      • Hmmm, I am only one blog ‘follower’ and I look for 3 main traits – quality of reviews (without being too wordy), an interest in books that I am interested in, and the ‘niceness’ of the person blogging (which is surprisingly easy to pick up). I don’t care how often they review. I would find it very difficult to review audiobooks – for the reasons you have mentioned.

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  2. I’m with you, Sharon, I don’t have time to read everything that gets posted either, and *snap* without realising it till reading what you’ve said just now, my judgement about who to follow is the same as yours. Interesting reviews of interesting books by people I like! if they blog too often (like I tend to do when I get carried away) I just skip reading some of them and if the reviews are few and far between that’s ok with me too.
    But I understand where Bill is coming from because I’ve seen many bloggers worrying about whether they’re doing enough. It’s very easy IMO to fall into a trap of feeling obligated to maintain whatever standards we have set for ourselves.
    So Bill, you’re not letting anybody down, least of all yourself. You’re earning a living in a demanding job *and* you’re doing voluntary work in the form of blogging as well. Drive carefully!

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  3. Blog when you can, don’t worry about it when you can’t, I reckon. The few times I’ve ever tried to stick to a schedule, blogging has started to feel like work – and obviously it’s not meant to!

    I’ve just had almost six weeks off (with the exception of a few posts I scheduled before my break) – I wasn’t doing anything particularly exciting but did have a really busy, stressful April and knew in advance I wouldn’t get much blogging (or reading) done. Alas that also extended to being able to read other blogs. I’m partially back – I have some more essays for uni due next week and then I get a few weeks to read, blog, and catch up on all the blog posts everyone else has written!

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  4. Thanks, I’m sure that’s good advice. I just scrolled back through your blog, your not getting much done looks like frenetic activity to me (looks like you had a lovely holiday, no HK-themed reading?).

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  5. Absolutely, blog when you can. As long as we know you’re alright – we hate people disappearing with no trace – we’e happy to read you when you can. I just can’t imagine your job. I like to drive in 1.5 hour spurts. After that I start to get tired and my eyes droop. I really worry about you and your job, THOUGH I shouldn’t, given that spell-checker dig!! In fact, x-Mrs Legend and I should go off in a huddle and think of an appropriate response!

    I certainly can’t keep up with all the blogs I’d like to, particularly with frequent posters. It’s hard enough to find reading and writing time as it is, so we all have to manage our time and priorities as best we can. (I try to post three times a week, but this week I’ll be lucky to make two – so be it, I say.)

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    • I don’t think for a moment that either of you is a bad speller, just that your spell checkers seem to take off in flights of fancy of their own.
      Thanks for your support, I’m sure my daughters will put something up on Facebook when old age catches up with me, meanwhile I don’t find driving stressful and I stop every couple of hours to walk around the truck and keep my circulation going.

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      • During the mining boom we would struggle to take our two mandatory days off a fortnight, that is we would routinely drive up to 12 days straight. That doesn’t happen so often these days, routinely I have one or two days off after six or so on the road, but if one of my regular deliveries has a shut down I might be off the road for a week, or if I’m lucky I fill in on one of the other runs.

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  6. Thank you for sharing a ‘behind the scenes’ view of your blog. I love the idea of a book reviewing truckie! I drive up and down the Hume Highway too often and see many trucks on the road. I wonder if there are any other book reviewing truckies? There are certainly some good second-hand bookshops in towns near the highway to entice truckies who like books. I would like to read more about your experiences reading while on road trips.

    Don’t worry about the frequency of your posting. I aspire to one a fortnight but even that is difficult at times. You can end up being a slave to your blog which takes the joy out of it, and the time to do that takes away from time when you could earn income.

    I too have become waylaid and have not read the books that I said I would at the beginning of the year. Other books caught my eye. But this weekend I covered some second-hand purchases with contact and couldn’t help myself from starting to read something from my to-be-read pile before finishing the book I am currently reading. I don’t like reading two books at once, but I just had to start reading this book…

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    • Long distance truck drivers are an interesting mix of classes, mostly working class and trades, but a smattering from the middle class like me. Interesting social experiment going on with large numbers of workers in mining and related industries earning more (because of the long hours) than middle ranking city white collar workers. And I’m certainly far from the only driver who reads or writes (typically columns in the trucking press). Anyway, thanks for the encouragement and I’ll press on.

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