zen calm illustration zero in box by Trudi Murray

This year, we’re at home between Christmas and New Year, and very, very nice it’s been too. Mr Murray has been off work throughout, and there has been much relaxing. Several long walks, a film or two, and a lot of chocolate-coin-consumption. All most pleasing.

We’ve done a bit of admin too – laughed at by my family as I am in this digital age, I always enjoy the calming yearly tradition of writing in dates in my new diary. Birthdays, term dates, trips, possible Summer holiday slots – a year on paper. 2018 will be over before we know it.

I’ve also booked train tickets up to Yorkshire. I’m going by myself – for a week! Both my brothers are great cooks, so the pleasure will be all mine. A little jaunt on the train and a change of scene – looking forward to it.

In between all this, and talking of admin, I became suddenly obsessed once more with achieving the zenith of email status: ‘zero in-box’. I’ve looked dejectedly at my escalating email situation before – what does one actually do with 12,000 emails stretching back a decade or so, and increasing in volume all the time?

Delete. That’s what. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be be able to see the bottom of the in-box? To be able to empty it. Ahhh! Except: I wasn’t brave enough to delete in one sweep. And perhaps it’s unadvisable anyway. Ten years of adverts and the like, yes. Hero to zero in one click.* But the other categories were more tricky.

I started at the back, at the oldest date. Wow, look – a life in emails. There I was, domestic chief, three small children trotting along behind, navigating our way through house moves/schools/parties/banks/the endless indemnity forms for the trampoline park Airhop Guildford.

Read on, further into the present.

A crisis: an accident, a hospital, a funeral, tears, heartbreak. Unanswered, un-sayable questions. A comprehensive unravelling. And then, the beginnings of a recovery. Scratch me, and it’s all still there, under a thin veneer. It will never be a bump in the road, that I can tell you.

In the emails from that time, a thread of friends throughout, weaving in goodness through gentle and sensitive messages, guiding me on, urging me back to life.

And look, here is when the builders come in, bringing style and structure into the rather shabby and pedestrian house slowly falling down around us. Emails about stairwells and bathrooms and plastering and the colour of the window frames (007 in case you were going to join the queue of people knocking on the front door to ask!).**

Read on, MacDuff.*** What’s next? A decision to start painting. Work, beginning to sell. Emails about making art for people, for money. Wow. New words in the thread: illustrations, commissions, talks, projects. Interesting developments, and me beginning to see that there IS a place in the world for my slightly-off-the-beaten-track vision.

And that place is right here, still. More please, in 2018!

It’s been very interesting – in fact, humbling – to read back through a decade in emails. Even more interesting to neatly file, or absolutely delete. To carefully select what to carry forward, and what to destine to the archive.

Zero inbox – achieved.

I’m left feeling unutterably smug.

And inexplicably anxious. Did I delete something I might need again one day? Wah! What have I done?!

I guess one can never truly win.


*Hero to zero in one click – it could happen to us all.
**I’m always polite and accommodating, but I do secretly think: Have your own ideas, people.
***This quotation I like to say is doubly wrong! That’s why I like it.



2 Comments on “Cleanse/zero

  1. I love to be organised for the coming year and I also put dates in a diary and on a calendar, I like to see it physically on paper ( in fact, come to think of it, I love paper😁). Happy New Year to you Trudi. Can’t wait to see what you do next year. Hopefully more blog writing because I do love your posts x

    • We are kindred spirits I think! Definitely more blog posts. I’m making a list of what I want more of in my work – writing this blog is so pleasing, so it automatically went right to the top. I’d really love a column in a paper – to write and illustrate every week. Just imagine that! (So glad you enjoy it – thank you. It means such a lot to me when I find out that people do :))

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