When my parents disagree about something, they have an unfortunate habit of dragging me into the middle of it. Case in point, over the last couple of days, Mum and Dad have rung me to vent about each other.

They have been divorced for five years now, and at some point, one would assume that they would start to ignore each other. They don’t. Actually, that’s a bit unfair. They get along, most of the time. Except for when they don’t, and blow up some trivial disagreement to epic size. That’s when they start to ring me to convey messages to the other, and to let me know in no uncertain terms how unreasonable and stubborn the other party is.

If my phone rings, then all I can do is to sigh and prepare for a list of failings and charges. It’s not even possible to ignore the calls, because then they will collude and make it all about me instead of their stupid argument. Disasters will be imagined, and Auntie will be recruited to check up on me and Mark, and Mark’s parents will be involved when they ring them to ask if they’ve seen us. Finally, when I do deign to answer, we will have moved on from their fight to my irresponsibility in not answering.

I’m not particularly keen to prove the foil with which to lance their particular grievance with each other at this time. I’ll just have to spend a couple of days listening to them argue with each other with me as the filter and the conveyor belt.

***

I am spending my days being jealous of Ben, because unlike yours truly, Ben has this magnificent ability to write right the first time he puts word to paper. He can get the first draft to shine in a way I’ll never be able to.

I have to work at it; vomit out the words first, and then spend a long time sand-papering the pile into shape. This blog is, often, an example of my process in that I vomit out something, and then put it up here without any further effort. As first drafts go, these short texts aren’t usually that bad. They are, however, wordy and filled with extra things they don’t need.

If I looked at it professionally, each post here could do with losing half of their words. Punch-lines could be tightened; premises explored; and themes could be more developed. I think my greatest lesson from my internship was developing a more laser-like focus on the flaws in my own writing.

When one spend all one’s days checking other people’s writing, one starts to grow aware of one’s own flaws. And that’s why I’m now secretly incredibly jealous of Ben because I’m reading some stuff he’s written, and apart from the need for a little tightening here and there, his texts are just perfect as they are. That’s a great ability. I wish I had it.

***

Auntie is going to take our animals today, because we’re going away this weekend. We haven’t done a thing all summer, and we’ve awoken from our summer stupor do actually want to go somewhere and be more active.

My cousin in Brighton’s wife’s parents have a cottage down near the South Downs in Sussex, and that’s where we’re going to spend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s going to be great because a large chunk of the Brighton LGBT set will most likely be there as well. Or, at least, chunks of it who are agreeable to my cousin.

I quite look forward to it. Time to do something. This summer won’t last forever, and it’s only a couple of weeks left of it now.