Back in January I was feeling very rough with a suite of ear, nose and throat complaints, and wrote a post about the occasions when I might be disinclined to wear perfume: illness, death of a relative, domestic strife etc. I can now add another one to the list - being horribly sidetracked.
For yesterday I had all manner of useful things planned: a bit of weeding, the interment of some dead succulents, a cycle ride over to Mr Bonkers' mother, maybe even a major grocery shop.
But none of these things occurred. Instead I remained at the computer most of the day, editing a non-fiction book that I have uploaded on to the Authonomy website, which is a sort of self-adjudicating slush pile administered (in a distinctly hands off fashion) by the publishing house Harper Collins. There are 8000 books on there, and their authors read and critique one another's works and the most popular are supposed to rise to the top in accordance with a cunning algorhythm. At the end of month, Harper Collins selects the top five books for review and decides whether or not they are worthy of a publishing deal. None has been awarded in the time I have been involved with the site (four months), I suspect because the books which are the most actively promoted by their authors tend to rise fastest. Which is not to say they have no merit, but they are not necessarily the best of the bunch.
Anyway, what this means is that to avoid plummeting like a stone in the rankings, you have to put in a good few hours every day reading other authors' works and commenting on them. I don't have that kind of time, though there was one chap who spent so long on Authonomy every day that he ended up in hospital with an embolism. That didn't help his ranking, I can tell you! Like him, I have done a fair bit of plummeting lately and yesterday I was piqued by a slightly snippy comment from another author, prompting me to disappear most of yesterday down a black hole of editing and re-editing. I was still unwashed and in my dressing down at 9.30pm - and crucially, SCENTLESS! Mr Bonkers quipped that the house was the better for it, but to me it was the lack of scent rather than the failure to wash or dress that constituted the most flagrant sign of self-neglect.
Moreover, I cannot help but wonder whether this dysfunctional day (on all other fronts but my book project) may have prompted a bizarre dream last night.
In this dream someone's mother had just died (no one I knew) and a bunch of other people (whom I didn't know either) were applying a great deal of pressure on me to construct an enormous wreath for this lady out of daffodils. Not only was it to be huge, but in the shape of a sou'wester, owing to some connection the deceased had with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. I cried, I stamped my foot, and protested tearily that I had no experience with flower arranging on this scale - nothing really beyond plonking a bunch of carnations in a vase, indeed. And though I had owned a Peter Storm mac as a child, I had only the fuzziest of ideas of how a sou'wester was constructed, let alone how to replicate one in daffodils.
Much has been written about perfume as "therapy", as a mood enhancer, a confidence booster and so on, but I think this story clearly demonstrates a fundamental link between perfume and mental health...