Eat The Opal Fruit

Life Design Action: Eat the Opal Fruit

Requires: Facing the sharpness and chewing

Does not require: Confectionary


For the last six weeks I’ve been in a bit of a grump – hence why I haven’t blogged. Too much work, too many deadlines, too many end of year accounts and solicitors; a deluge of rain, feeling boxed in and increasingly pinned down with a bump that is about as awkward to manouver around as a gramophone selotaped to your stomach; robot systems, graphs from the midlands and NHS induced anxiety around baby-growth… it all finally took its toll.

Grumpy then gave way to deflated.

Which then gave way to an experience that is very, very scary for someone like me.

I lost my inspiration. Or at least she walked out. Think she decided to go on holiday to India or Indonesia or some other nice exotic place.

“Deserter!!” I shouted up the road.

Inspiration flicked her hair, gave me two fingers, turned the bend in the road and was gone.

Muttering, I stomped back into the Sanctuary. Slammed the door. Sat there for a while, then moved to the lounge and stewed.

The truth is, I am not myself when Inspiration abandons me. I start doing odd things, such as compulsive laundry. And clearing out cupboards. And tapping my fingers and looking in the fridge fifty thousand times a day as if I might something worth chewing over. Books don’t call me; stories don’t whisper to be written; art lies latent and blogs remain unwritten.

Result: tumble weed in the House.

Then, a few days ago this changed. I was sitting at the kitchen table cutting out some words for a book when there came a sharp knock on the door. Putting a hand out to steady myself, I heaved up the gramophone and went to see who was there.

 The House of Bethan

When I saw, my heart sunk.

“Oh – not YOU,” I groaned.

Quickly I tried to slam the door shut, but no. Too late. His foot was wedged inside and before I could do a thing he was sailing into the Sanctuary, into the kitchen, pulling out a chair and sitting down.

Meet Competition.

“That was a bit rude,” Competition fired at me huffily. He raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow, pushed out his lips like two pink glossed volcanos and crossing one leg over the other, started to swing his foot accusingly. “Why didn’t you want to let me in?”

I shrugged and slumped down in my chair. “Worn out? Exhausted? Not in the mood to see you?”

Normally when Competition turns up I’m stronger than this. I can handle all of his button-pressing, poking, prodding and teasing. In fact, as a pair we bounce off each other. He winds me up and that forces me to take some action, upping the game soy that m life and my profession becomes the winner. Competition simultaneously delights me and makes me recoil. Like a really sharp flavoured Opal Fruit. He makes my Action Glands water.

Which sounds weirdly wrong.

But its true.

And Competition knows it.

Not this time though. This time I was tired, exhausted, missing my inspiration and feeling flat. I didn’t want to chew the Opal Fruit. I wanted to be left alone.

 Sitting there in my kitchen, leg swinging, Competition interlaced his nail varnished fingers on his knee and narrowed his eyes.

 “What wrong with you?” he wheedled. “You’re never this flaky.”

And then he did something really low. He bitchily began to list all of the people, companies and programmes that are currently looking to do/doing what I am building and creating. He showed me their branding. He showed me their websites. He pointed out how high profile their endorsers were. Then he looked at me with his smug face and his raised eyebrow and his …

“Okay! That’s it!” I snapped, standing up. “I’ve had enough. Get OUT.”

Competition’s eyebrow pointed higher. His leg swung faster.

“Make me,” he said in an oily voice. “What are you going to do?”

At this point I had two choices; slump back down and let this vindictive, theatrical lovey twist me around his bony little finger OR take him out. Literally. In that moment I forgot all about the rain, the too much work, the niggles, the accountants, the solicitors, the midwives, the graphs and instead I reached into the cupboard, pulled out my tea caddy and peeled my fingers around the lid.

“No!” shrieked Competition, scrambling up like a spooked fawn. “No! Not that!”

I narrowed my eyes and smiled. “Yes, Competition. THAT.”

There was a soft pop as the lid of the tea caddy was released and then out IT exploded. Wild, snow white, ferocious, massive Action. It thumped into the kitchen making the ground tremor, paused for one moment, then took one look at Competition and charged towards him. Holding onto my gramophone belly, I stood there, hair everywhere, eyes watering in the whipping wind, laughing like a mad person as Competition scrambled out into the garden, down the path, through the gate and over the drive – all the while Massive Action thundering after him.

I suddenly remembered what it felt like when we break out of a victimish grump and instead do something ridiculously brave in the direction of our dreams; something risky and something so BIG and UNBELIEVABLE that it leaves you feeling




Mentholly Cleansed

like you’ve just crunched up a soul-sized Glacier mint.

“Now THAT is better,” rang out a voice from behind me. Spinning around, I let out a little cry of happiness. Here she was, whistling through the door in a flurry of creativity, dust, incense and richness. My beautiful girl: Inspiration.

“Did I miss anything?” she asked, breathlessly.

“Only a flipping amazing Massive Action.” I hurried to the kettle, filled it up with water, grabbed cups and tea bags and milk, then rubbing the gramophone belly said, “You won’t believe what I’ve just done!”

What massive action can you take today?

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