Drowning in Paperwork

June 18, 2011 at 12:48 am (writing)

Recently, I’ve been developing an aversion to paperwork, not exactly something you want to happen when you are a writer, an illustrator and an accountant. It seems like lately, no matter how carefully I prepare said paperwork on my end, someone is bound to screw it up on the other end. It’s not something new. Despite having all my “i”s dotted and my “t”s crossed, a few years ago CRA decided out of the blue that my husband was dead and they therefore had to claw back some of my child tax credit, because our family size was 2 rather than 3. It was a matter of someone in their office accidentally clicking the wrong box somewhere, but it created a mountain of undeserved hassle on my end – and no apologies for their mistake.

I think what makes it worse is that as time passes, the required paperwork just seems to multiply. On top of taxes, forms for work, insurance, bank statements, and bills, I now have to deal with enough paper to fill up the wooden chest in my living room in the form of reports from the various specialists who see my son, documentation for both kids from school, RESP information, mortgage details, art portfolios and massive piles of hard copy manuscripts (be it tales of love-struck dragons or exploding zombies) – not to mention contracts and PR papers. I have file cabinets and desk drawers overflowing with the stuff. I once was romanced by the notion of a store called the Paper Garden (a lovely place – honest) and past-times like origami, but now paper and I have more of a passive-aggressive love-hate relationship. Most days I go out of my way to avoid or ignore it, overwhelmed by its mere presence. If I had to write using paper and pen instead of using my netbook, I probably wouldn’t write at all (and my poor artwork is presently horribly neglected.)

The flood of paperwork appears to be dampening my mood almost as much as the monsoon season that seems to have settled over Nova Scotia since April. Keeping track of it all takes almost as much time as my full-time job, but when I have let it slide a little, because of over-time season at my job last year, it got me in some serious ca-ca doo-doo (that combined with an honest misunderstanding, bad timing of my insurance renewal and the purchase of a newer used vehicle). There are days I want to just throw my hands in the air, shake my head, and begin preparations for one kick-ass bonfire.

Other days, I believe that the only way I’ll ever escape this quicksand of things to be signed in triplicate, is to throw a few supplies in a backpack and wander off into the woods -beyond the reach of anything that travels by envelope. If the day comes when you can’t find me being suffocated beneath the piles of invoices, contracts, reports and statements, try looking for me nestled amongst the roots of some spruce tree. I’ll be hanging with my new paperless friends, including the occasional squirrel or porcupine.

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