Last year, writing was a tornado and I was gripped, swirled around in the frenzy of the story I wanted to tell. This year, writing is like a glass bottle lazily floating in the Channel, drifting towards shore; I see it, waddle towards it, freak out at the touch of seaweed on my feet and dash back to land, holding a hand to my forehead, squinting, hoping it will come to me, but it drifts off towards the horizon so I wait for tomorrow’s sunrise to see if the tide will be fruitful.
Problem is, on the beach, there are beach balls, frisbees, Punch and Judy, pulling me in other directions, ice creams, chips, and books, books, books.
Moving house snatches time, the day job eats three days, and the books, books, books keep me leisurely uplifted, and distracted which I need, so bad, at the moment, but I’ll be caught in them for hours.
I’ve cut down drink to two nights a week – it’s sly how it snuck in after Dad was diagnosed with cancer, but now he’s returned to the smiling man he was, even his dreadlocks seem springier, I feel calmer and want to be healthy because health is all that, ultimately, matters. Can’t believe I completed my MA when I think about Dad last year. Especially, when the fluid was so bad he couldn’t breathe.
Slap it from my mind.
My lecturer, in the Writer and Politics module, said to me, when I got back to class, ‘Doesn’t it put everything into perspective? None of this matters.’ He was right.
I told Dad I can’t wait for the day I can put my published book into his hands and it will have his surname on which he gave me. ‘Innit, my love,’ he said. That’s my current goal.
Heard a woman on Radio 4, a few months ago, say, ‘After we realised mum was dying of cancer’, and it’s stuck in my mind ever since. The focus on the death rather than the life felt obscene. I’m not often offended, but I was by that because of how many listeners would have conceded with that perspective.
We’re so brainwashed into doom, but people live with cancer. That’s how I see it. There’s too much power in the mind to see it otherwise. And the power of the internet has been mind, and I think, life-saving, this past year. Indeed, my family is thirteen months on and Dad’s still going strong ❤
Tip: If a doctor ever asks if you want to know ‘how much time you have’, say no. There’s too much power in those words, and each person is an individual, not just a statistic. Osler, a Physician during the 1800s, said. ‘The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.’
Flashback: Me saying to Oncologist, ‘I know Dad’s a statistic to you, but he isn’t to us and I want you to test his triglycerides” (they didn’t want to because of the cost). When I put it like that, he agreed.
If I completed a degree in the same year Dad was diagnosed, I can write now, in the face of small distractions. I need to pull my head out my ass and get on with it. No excuses. No more frisbees and ice creams. When I move back to Nan’s (Yay! I’ll have money again), I’ll find it easier to be strict because it’s just me and my laptop there. Oh, and Nan’s faltering memory, and bowels. And Pete’s moaning on, groaning on, in his cowboy hat.
During a conversation with the head of faculty last year, he said, in his own, much more poetic words, how writing can provide a separation from events unraveling around you and you can use those experiences.
I liked what he said, it provides a coping mechanism, except I feel so much and I wondered how I could possibly separate myself until I had a panic attack in February and was convinced it was snowing in the kitchen. It’s turned into a scene that I want to use for a story, but the story hasn’t come to me yet.
I like the oddness, and again, the power of the mind. How it can trick you. Although, in the grips of panic and fear, I hate it.
Reading Angela Carter’s, The Bloody Chamber. It’s majestic. Odd, twisted and sublime. I love how she’s able to weave horror and sensuousness and still manage to keep intact a fairy tale. Reminded me of Amanda’s writing which I love. I’ll finish the book today because I’m desperate to start a new one about Greek mythology.
Today’s a drinking day. The second of my two a week, but I will walk to the beach, wriggle my toes in the sparkly waters of the Channel and swim out to grab my glass bottle, bring it to shore and write a thousand words before I do anything else.