Thursday, August 23, 2007

Must try harder

This morning I received the 7th and final rejection of my first batch of submissions. I could have kicked myself when, on flicking through the pages, I discovered that the printer had cut the top off one page completely. I was so sure that I had checked and double-checked every single sheet before posting. Never mind. I must manage somehow to get this forthcoming bank holiday Monday all to myself, so that I can re-write my synopsis thoroughly and draft some more letters.

On the upside, I was reading aloud to the girls in Horbury Library a couple ago and one of the librarians stopped me on the way out to say that she had been listening to us and might I be willing (and available) to read stories to their toddler group on Friday afternoons at 2 o'clock? I said I'd love to. I'm taking up the literacy/storytelling post in T's Thursday morning playgroup from September anyway (also unpaid of course) as another woman is leaving, so at least if I've prepared any materials, props, etc. they will be put to better use. I'm really looking forward to it.
One small irritation is that the Thursday playgroup have saddled me with their accounts too, as part of a 'you win some, you lose some' package I suppose.
I'm perfectly numerate but I've never done 'accounts' before. I'm assuming it's a simple case of money-in vs. money-out but I had terrible trouble with my tax return.
It was my first ever one, because I did some paid technical writing for an environmental consultancy in Otley last year, so I had to register myself as self-employed (even though it was only £500). I knew that 99% of the questions weren't relevant to me but I had no idea where I should be putting zeros and where I should be leaving blank or simply repeating the one and only number I had: 500.
The form was composed of familiar words (attentuation, output, profit, benefit) but this new context somehow rendered them practically unintelligible, even with the help of the explanatory notes. I ended up making full use of the final box (any other information) to explain, in plain english, my financial circumstances - hoping that my form would at some point come into contact with a real human being who might take pity on me. I felt like such an idiot. I could have asked my dad to help, but he would only have made me feel like even more of an idiot. It would be me, aged eleven again, struggling with my maths homework, reduced to tears by his kindly-meant entreaties to 'try doing it HIS way - it doesn't matter what the teacher says as long as the answer is right'. Me, trying to explain that I'd lose the marks set aside for 'working', that if I didn't do it the teacher's way I wouldn't be able to understand the next piece of work that would inevitably build upon what had gone before. Me, finally realising that my dad didn't understand these new ways of doing things and was drowning along with me, in deep denial. I know this because I am occasionally baffled my my daughter's maths homework, which is madness because I did achieve top grades in the end, despite all the tears and trauma.
A x


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