Mondayitis or Monday ‘it’s us’

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Mondays, the start of the working week for most people and the school or university week for students. If you’ve been lucky to have an exciting or relaxing weekend, perhaps a glimpse of freedom from the shackles of timetables, it can be hard to get motivated to ‘rise and shine’ as my father used to sing.

Not only did Dad sing, but he’d put on a pipe band record at full blast, grab a mop or brush as his baton and transform into a  drum master leading his troops, albeit from bedrooms to breakfast table!

Along with my five siblings, I did rise ( not sure about the shine) and we’d follow him down the hallway tousled-haired and pyjama-clad into the kitchen to be greeted by the smell of toast and tea.

Mercifully, the massed pipes and drums of the Sutherland Highlanders, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Cameron Highlanders or any number of records from Dad’s collection would then be silenced.

Mondayitis never tolerated in our household – the ‘Protestant work ethic’ inculcated at an early age. Self-inflicted pain from youthful excess and late nights not an excuse for missing school or work.

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Yet Mondayitis is real, like the blues, and if you have a boring or depressing job, or the weather is cold and wet and the bed is warm, or there are a thousand distractions and reasons for staying home – going to the park, meeting up with friends, lying on the beach, curling up with a book… just Life with a capital L – the odd bout of Mondayitis can rejuvenate a jaded spirit.

But it can become a habit.  One of my brother’s high school mates actually thought the teachers wouldn’t notice a pattern to his absenteeism!

However, If you are fortunate to be free of permanent work and study commitments, and have a choice as to how you spend your week,  joining a club, group or class and having an enjoyable activity to look forward to does help. It is even part of a suggested  plan to cure Mondayitis!

As mentioned in other posts, you know the activity I recommend is a creative writing class.

“Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.”

 Amy Tan

This term at Mordialloc Neighbourhood we’ve had some fun changing the format. Many of my students have been coming for years to the Writing for Pleasure & Publication classes, which keeps me on my toes. There can be no repeat lessons.

So borrowing  cards my daughter made for her Diploma of Art Therapy, we do some flash fiction to start the lesson. An extra writing task added to activate the brain cells.

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Imagination, Ideas, Invention … I’m sounding a little like an Aussie politician at election time but three-word slogans aside – I try to make sure each class is as interesting and inspiring as possible.

I’m always looking for new ways to approach writing and encourage the pens to move.

There is a set lesson but choosing a random card and writing for ten minutes on whatever the picture triggers has produced entertaining and touching vignettes and the potential for some great stories.cards-for-prompts

Dennis chose the Batman card and wrote a witty dialogue between Bruce Wayne aka Batman and a new franchisee in Australia, Dingo Man! Needless to say, there were roars of laughter as he read his piece.

We had emotional memories of family and personal trauma, imaginative mysteries, childhood dreams, poems and essays.  A popular card is Shakespeare’s observation that All The World’s A Stage. It prompts interesting reflections.

I chose a card with a short verse and what looks like Jack climbing a beanstalk – perhaps the picture was intended as a metaphor for the words:

After Zen, Pick Up A Pen
Mairi Neil

‘Into the woods to get my wish
I don’t care how the time is now…’

What is my wish? I ask my heart
A jet flies overhead, I want to depart.
I want to fly – or is it flee?
To be somewhere else, to be really me.

Perhaps live in a cottage, grow veggies galore
Crimson roses climb to frame the door
The sound of the sea a whisper away
Soft sand or pebble beach, to walk each day.

No Internet to distract, banish TV too
Windows to Mother Nature will do.
Imagination unfiltered, pen unfettered
Past, present, and future, stories checkered.

Flowing words and thoughts, false or true
My mojo needs a seismic shift to renew.
But is there a need for woods, or fleeing by air?
Perhaps wishes come true from … anywhere.

I’ll make the time now – seize the day
Harness the words and what I want to say.
If positive encouragement rings in my ears
Dreams can be enough to banish fears!

I’ll take a notepad and pencil, or pen
Seek other dreamers with a writing yen
To say with words what drives the heart
I’ll join a writing class, no need to depart!

The last verse I added at home -a bit of advertising or perhaps convincing myself yearning can be suppressed!  I was putting into words my desire to return to Scotland – a dream I’ve nurtured for a long time.

Another piece of writing to come out of Monday class was in response to events next door to the neighborhood house.

Construction sites a constant in Mordialloc as so many houses are pulled down to be replaced with apartments or townhouses – even when houses have been renovated, as was the case with this house.

Farewell No 459 Main Street, Mordialloc
Mairi Neil

Monday morning
First day of term
A scene of devastation,
Dust swirling in the air
The chomp of a front end loader
Crunching bricks
Smashing tiles
Splintering wood
Demolition next door…
The hum of machines
An unwelcome background noise
As the classroom shakes
With the vibration of diggers
In moments the building flattened
A home – gone
A dream – forgotten
Years of living, loving,
Arguing, playing,
Holidaying, working
Birthing, dying
Reduced to dust motes
Lost in the wind
Continuous clattering, splattering
Crunching, munching
Clanging, banging
Until dump trucks cart away
history…
From the rubble
And mounds of soil
A family of mice
Scurry under the fence
Two ravens circle and swoop
To pick over the carcass
The silence deafening.

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Sadly, development is not always in the best interests of the community. This one, in particular, may well lead to the end of my class because those with disabilities struggle to access the house.

Once multiple units are built the few parking spaces in front of the community house will be reduced and those with walkers and walking sticks will not be able to walk the extra distance required.

Already one of my students arrives an hour before class begins to get one of the few disabled parking spots. Now that’s dedication!

Parking always at a premium will be almost non-existent as building works progress, roads are partially blocked, tradesmen park nearby, and more people compete for limited spaces.

Mondayitis will be the least of our problems!

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3 thoughts on “Mondayitis or Monday ‘it’s us’

    1. More than a worry, Lisa. It’s a nightmare. They’re erecting a wooden ‘wall’ which will permanently block off the footpath too. It’s to seal and protect the site while the units are built, then it will be removed but that means part of the service road is the pavement and about 6 car spots removed. Today, they extended the fenceline between the site and the neighbourhood house but attached the wooden wall at an angle to a telegraph pole. When one of my students in a wheelchair tried to get out of the gate her arm got squashed and she got stuck. it took a carer and a person from the office to remonstrate with the foreman that the wall will have to be repositioned. We’ll see if that happens! Parking at the back of the house has been reduced because of the work and even if there was parking there is no disabled access at the back. Oh, happy days:)

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