This week it all got too much. I felt like flinging myself on my chaise longue ( yes, I do actually have one, I'm that precious), finding someone to put a cooling palm to my fevered forehead and lots of other bits of me which would be comforted, and telling me that I didn't have to deal with any more.
I can't think where it started now but the computer began playing silly buggers, the car tyres went down, the roof leaked so much in the back bedroom that I could hear the sound of the rain plopping into my favourite pan from my own bed with the damned door shut. The damp proof course in the hall has given up and has yellowed the walls and all the paint is peeling off. I went to Sainsbury's for my present drug of choice, Prosecco, came back and some bugger chipped my lovely little car's windscreen.
Actually I am thinking of getting rid of the lovely little car but I cry when my cars go to the great garage in the sky so I'm putting it off.
Then I went to London to see my editor and my agent and my writing friends and somewhere in among all the work and play I turned into the sort of thing which makes a burst balloon look like a jumbo jet. I wilted. I moaned over my friends, I moaned over my daughter.
My daughter is a manager. She managed me so beautifully.
'Regroup!' she said. 'Sit on the sofa, watch films and eat pizza.' Actually she didn't tell me to eat pizza but I'm sure she meant me to.
'Stop the social networking, put the work away.'
I retreated, pyjama clad. I watched John Wayne Films. John Wayne was my childhood hero. There is something about a man who is six foot three or four or whatever which makes me melt like chocolate in hot weather. I spent a lovely part of my childhood sitting in the living room with the curtains closed on warm afternoons, ignoring the world and there with my dad I entered the door of cowboy land and never came home. My dad used to take me to the pictures, buy me sweets and then fall asleep. He worked too hard. I got my love of films from my dad. When I was younger I wanted to be a film director. I don't know what happened to that, just that there was another part of me that said 'why not spend your life alone in a little room, staring at a screen and being relatively poor?'
There I go, moaning again. My job meant I was here when my kid was little, when she was ill. I got to walk my dogs in the mornings and afternoons. Now I am here for all those workmen who come and go, I am here when the Ringtons man comes and the guys at the door try to sell me things and those cold callers who think I might listen to them and sometimes I feel so sorry for them that I do. I can talk to the bloke next door and hear the little kids over the fence playing in the garden on the few dry afternoons we have had this year. I can choose when I work, and my friends put up with me being a whining moaner.
Rio Bravo is at present my favourite film. It has everything, John Wayne being the sheriff and Angie Dickinson, the girl who comes to town, there is a drunk who comes good and a grumpy old man and a young gunslinger and its set in one small town. The plot is wonderful and the dialogue is to die for. The acting is brilliant.There is music and tension, it never slips for a second. Good old Howard Hawks for doing it and for giving me such pleasure. Best of all, for the first time, yesterday I noticed in the credits that it said, 'from a short story'. I don't remember who wrote it but all of a sudden I remembered what I did and why I did it.
Stagecoach, another John Wayne film, came from a short story by the best short story writer of them all, Guy de Maupassant. All you need for a good film is a brilliant story, fantastic actors, the best director and somebody with a lot of money. And that's why I watch John Wayne in the afternoons. Because only the best will do.