I love music. Whenever I am writing, or planning, or reading or anything else, I like to have music playing. I have eclectic tastes – you’ll find Dolly Parton, The Rolling Stones, Sleigh Bells and Jay-Z all sitting happily next to each other in my library. But sometimes they is only one sort of music, or one artist or one song, that you want to listen to. You know how it goes; it’s like that moment when you’re watching a movie and the soundtrack kicks in and you realize that no other piece of music would fit in that moment.
Since I moved to the States my soundtrack has been Kate Rusby. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, she is a folk singer who hails from my neck of the woods, from Yorkshire. And when she sings, you can hear it. The flat vowel sounds and the comforting sound of a voice who sings with the voice you grew up listening to. Some people might use the word ‘authentic’ here, like the fact she sings without trying to adopt an American accent like so many others do these days is some sort of badge of merit. But I don’t think it is a conscious thing, I don’t think she sings and thinks ‘I must make sure I sound like I’m from the North’ while she does. She just sings. And because she just sings, and just is who she is and is from where she is, she sings true.
I’ve lost count of the times people here have told me ‘I love your accent’. And it’s fine. It’s a novelty for people, I guess, so I smile and thank them for the compliment. The way we speak is so much a part of who we are and where we’re from that sometimes you don’t realize it until you’re missing it. The Sheffield voice, the Yorkshire accent, the conversations about breadcakes and Relish and them folks that are nesh – that’s something I miss. And so I’m listening to Kate Rusby because where else am I going to hear it?
‘Who knows where the time goes…’ So sings Kate Rusby.
I’m short on time here. Work is hard, the hours long, and daylight hours much shorter than I am used to. I have so many tasks on my To Do list that I dread looking at the clock to see how much time has gone and how much little time I have left to achieve what I wanted to achieve. My time is split between working and sleeping. That’s it. And just as many times as people have told me they love my accent, so have they told me to remember to take some time for me.
So this weekend I have taken some time. I have crossed the things off my To Do list that aren’t urgent: they can wait and the world won’t fall apart around me if they are not completed today. I have done the things I need to do, and not rushed them. I have planned and prepared and marked and I am ready for Monday morning.
Then, I have stopped looking at the clock and stopped counting the time. Instead, I have taken time and put my name on it. I have spent an evening putting a bed frame together so that I don’t have to sleep on the floor anymore. I have spent time putting pictures on walls and photos in frames. I have read a few chapters of a book. I have started crocheting a blanket. I have watched a film. I have baked brownies. I have spent a morning in my pajamas and wrote emails home.
How long did these things take? I don’t know. As my old friend Kate sings , ‘I have no thought of time’. And boy is that a nice feeling for once.