Sunday 19 Feb 2017 13:40 at Wignacourt Garden Café in Rabat.
It’s Sunday and my mind is torn between feeling like I should do nothing (because: weekend) and feeling pressure from my deadline for creating artwork for a client by tomorrow. I’ve also been neglecting my writing recently and am really feeling its absence so the verdict falls somewhere in the middle of things. Spend morning writing, walk in the afternoon and work in the evening so that I can feel like I’ve had a weekend and at the same time get my work done in time.
I landed in Rabat and after a good half an hour of scouring for parking and a walk past a highly entertaining political speech in front of the Labour Party club, I settled in Wignacourt Garden Café just past the piazza, sitting cross legged on a cushion-less sofa in the pretty courtyard filled with orange trees. I can’t quite get onto the wi-fi out here, which works perfectly for writing distraction-free.
The waiter is a sweet Italian who balances out letting me do my own thing with coming over to check on me from time to time (and of course I feel like I need to order something every time he comes over) seeing that I’ve been here for a few hours and it’s lunch time. This morning has been dedicated to setting up this 100-day project and getting it going. And hopefully preparing the questions for an interview with Joan from the Notarial Archives that I want to somehow fit in this week. I’ve been craving writing for some time now but had not managed to carve out the time to do it. Being outside in this orchard / garden has helped to boost my concentration and productivity.
A large water, cheese and onion toast (they were ok with my off-the-menu order), orange juice, croissant and mint tea later (how much food does it take to set up a 100-day project?) I have my intro and most of day 1 done and I’m ready to put it all online. One of my strange struggles with café working alone? Pee-breaks. Do I leave all my stuff there and risk my laptop being whisked away (horror of horrors) or do I take it all to the bathroom? Will the waiter think I’ve done a runner if I leave nothing there? I settled for taking my dear lappy with me and leaving a bag behind, marking my territory. Do others have these dilemmas or am I the only one to worry about such things? Pee-break settled I gathered my things to move closer to the wi-fi (of course my trusty internet dongle limit seems to have run out exactly when I need it) to put it all online, only to spectacularly slip on the moist flagstones. Slightly mossy (messy) but mostly intact (except for my dignity) I manage to connect and get on with things with the waiters feeling bad enough to keep their distance and not force me to order more liquids and venture on more awkward pee-breaks. This is what success looks like today.
Late night update at 20:55 from home in Valletta
I’m finally done with my work (I also walked for a good 2.5 hours around the Rabat area, met some fascinating new people and ate some naughty pastizzi from the now infamous Sirkin) and almost ready to pack the day up in preparation for tomorrow. Tomorrow starts 5 weeks that are a lot more structured than I’ve gotten used to over the last few years. I’m going to be spending 4 half days a week doing some in-house marketing projects for a company I used to work for and another 4 half days assisting the two curators for the Malta expo in the Venice Biennale. That leaves me 1 weekday to keep up with my other freelancing projects if I try to keep weekends off. I’m excited and a little tense. I dusted off my corporate-friendly wardrobe and am ready to revisit my old work with the new me to see how we create new ways of working together. I guess you’ll get the blow-by-blow as it happens.
This is the entry for Day 1 in Experiments with enough (curiously): my 100-day frank freelancing diary.