death and taxes and death

I really want to moan about doing my tax return: how hard it was; how utterly clueless I am; how I berate myself for not keeping neat and tidy records; and generally BOO HOO HOW I HATE MY LIFE YOU INLAND REVENUE OINKS. But I suppose complaining about doing your tax return is the same sort of thing that makes people laugh/spit when writers talk about ‘hard work’ and ‘labour’ and ‘toiling in the hot sun for hours on end with no water and just a crust of stale bread to chew on’. Which is more or less what I put under the earnings column.

I’d love to get an accountant to look after my tax return for me, but given the paltry amount of money I earn as ‘Georgina Bruce: Writer’, an accountant’s fee would probably sink me into some kind of reverse negative income debt spiral which ends with me, ten years down the line, arrested for outstanding payments of thousands of pounds, and carted off to the clink in tears whilst cardboard cut-out faces of tax accountants spin around my head in a hallucinatory circle, mocking smiles on their faces, the sound of their fiscally competent laughter ringing in my ears.

I did my tax return online. Every time I entered a number in one of the little boxes, no matter how I had checked and calculated and added it up, my heart was in my mouth. It seems eminently possible that one could commit some kind of grand fraud simply by clicking the wrong button. Really, they ought to add some extra options – as well as ‘yes’ and ‘no’, there should be ’50:50′ and ‘phone a friend’.

Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue makes the process just that bit more terrifying by providing ‘help’ pop-ups which are written by the same people who do the instruction booklets for self-assembly furniture. On Betelgeuse. When space-beings from another dimension recover the remains of our civilisation sometime in the distant/parallel future, the ‘help’ information from HMRC online filing will be used as evidence for some smug space-historian’s thesis that human beings were MONSTERS who completely deserved the terrible fiery destruction of their planet.



I suspect I might be succumbing to the lurgy that has been going around here for the past two weeks. I’ve done my best to avoid it but a lot of sick people have been breathing near me recently, coughing without putting their hands over their mouths, sneezing and not immediately rubbing everything down with alcohol wipes or better yet, bunging everything they’ve touched in one of those sterilising machines you see at the dentist’s surgery. They clearly want to infect me.

This may explain the general lack of inspiration I feel at the moment. I know, I know. We writers are not supposed to need inspiration. We have to sit here, through the pain and boredom of having no ideas and nothing to say, just so we can say we paid our dues. And sometimes, just sitting there, just working, is enough to get you back into the flow. But other times, it really isn’t. It’s putting words on a page, then looking back and thinking, jeez. I am really bad at this.

Well, that’s what the past couple of days have been like for me, writing-wise.  All I can hope for is that the lurgy passes swiftly, or alternatively, that it wreaks havoc on me, sending me into a fever in which I hallucinate wildly and creatively…  and maybe travel through time or to another dimension. I quite like that feeling you get when you’re ill, of being in another world. Not that I want to be ill. I just want to be a better writer.