Monday, December 29, 2003

The eleventh hour...
A phrase that's taken on a whole new meaning for me over the last year.
Let me explain...

I have a great day job. It pays well, I get to exercise my creative and technical muscles for most of it and I sit at a desk that looks onto London Bridge and the Thames which flows beneath it. I work with nice people, and I rarely get food poisoning from the canteen. My boss doesn't hate me (or if he does he's kind enough to keep it to himself) and I like my boss.
I make a whole heap of money (this is quite far down the list of reasons why it's a good job you'll notice) and it doesn't take up more of my life than it should. Some people in my line of work have to spend a lot longer at their desks, and under a lot more pressure, than I do.

I have to get up early(ish) in the morning for it. This is something I've never been very good at.
Up until the age of six or maybe seven I was an early riser. Crack-of-dawn childrens' television was the draw I think.
After this I was a late sleeper, I'd argue with my mum when she'd try to get me up for school in the morning. Fourteen minutes was plenty of time to get washed and dressed to wait for the school bus. She never believed me.
I think I might have been wrong in retrospect anyway.

I had a brief spell where I'd get up at half past six to go running before school, and then university. This was because I boxed at the time, and if I wasn't fit I'd get a black eye.

So anyway - yes - early mornings. Not my forte.
If you've paid any attention to this blog in the last year (it's almost one year old!) or read any of the rest of my web site then you know I have aspirations. I want to be a writer and an artist, more than anything else in the world at the moment. I've been working as hard as I can at my day job (which I've already explained is the stuff of dreams for most people) and in the evenings I've been trying to have a social life, a love life (with which my long suffering girlfriend has been incredibly patient) and continue to hone my writing and art skills.

This year I've done quite a bit - my proudest moments being the finished, colour covered Awkward Fascination Compendium, my scripts for the imploded Epic imprint for Marvel Comics, my comic style portrait of Ion Luca Caragiale for the Romanian International Cartoon Festival and the Christmas Cards I made for friends and family. These things have taken time, frequently more time than I'd have if I balanced everything in a healthy way. This obviously can't go on.

I'm sitting here at the eleventh hour as I so often have been in the last year.
I have to be up at around half past seven, so I should really be in bed by midnight. Tonight I'm just reading comics and nursing a cold, but a lot of the time I've been sitting here on my bed writing and drawing, desperately trying to get as much done as possible before the twelve o' clock deadline. I usually keep going until one or two, and sometimes three, justifying it by telling myself that I'll get an early night tomorrow. I'll drink an extra cappucino with my breakfast in the morning.

Getting up at half past seven is getting increasingly difficult for just this reason. When I first started at the wonder job I'd always be in before nine. Now I'm averaging somewhere between ten and twenty past nine. I fear that if I stay much longer this will slip even further and that would be unfair to the people I work with who expect me to be professional and do my job to the best of my ability.
I would also be doing myself an injustice as I'm capable of so much more.

The eleventh hour is the reason I have to quit the day job this year.
I can't take sitting here counting the minutes, dreading the little hand and the big hand meeting at the top of my decade old Omega watch (a gift from my uncle John) anymore, wishing that time would slow down, or maybe even stand still.
Just this once.

I can't wait for 2004 - the year where I forget all about the eleventh hour.

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