So I’ve made lists, made threats, made bribes, made prompts, made further plans and… nothing. Not a thing done. I went to the International Literary Festival in Dublin last week and was too scared to speak to any of the agents, (“they might HEAR me!”) and walked away truly discouraged, as I can only imagine would be to the relief of some of them. A few seemed so jaded and unhappy it was unattractive. It did put to rest any idea I would have of writing as a full time thing. Only the very lucky are rewarded with that and I hate that it won’t be me. I hate lots of things these days.
In any case, I have gotten home each day and sat at this and done NOTHING. Let’s put that shame up there again shall we, NOTHING. I’ve broken my diet over and over again, let the house get sloppy and internally screamed at myself at work. Not worried. I despise people like me most of the time but I find I just can’t make whatever model I’ve concocted in my head sit comfortably. I might be insisting on perfection, but I’m never ever going to get it. All I’ve ever accomplished is failing comfortably; I’ve been the brown bread with the broken crust straight out of the oven, or the curve on a warped window sill that is all the more pleasant for it. I have never achieved a bloody thing in my life, and something inside won’t let me start now.
All I want to do is to sit and enjoy the sun. Wish I could do that.
So. I have a 100k novel to tidy up and make presentable. I’ve done little to none of it, and the honest reason for that is I believe it is beyond me. I am stupid. Yes, stupid, like lose-a-winning-lottery-ticket stupid. Like pull-my-own-finger stupid. Like stick the pen in my eye stupid. I routinely handle heavy goods when it should be outlawed, and I’ve even become a Mum, when I honestly should be parented myself.
So. Stupid. And so this task which should be given over to Atwood, or Alberto Manguel, or Umberto Eco, or Neil Gaiman, these people who have books and libraries and time and effervesce and ability and jesus just the talent for it. The pitying looks from colleagues and the thud-thud-thud of my own brain makes the suggestion of it falling to me as nonsense. The book should be crafted into baroque plaster work, something intricate and smart and new each time you read. Instead I’ll make it into a holiday read with oversimple English because no one understands me anyway and a metaphor that is LIKE THIS IN CASE YOU MISS IT and a subplot that no one will see because see paragraph one, I’m an idiot.
Something like this that you can take with you as you go, unadorned by attachment.
So yeah. Idiot. But if I leave this to languish, no one else will care about them. No one is going to hurt when they do, or fight for them to keep going, or even think about them after I’m gone. No one will give a damn. So yeah, I’m an idiot. But I’m the only idiot attached to this thing.
Jaysus, this is what it must have been like with Frodo, a minnow in the face of overwhelming odds. And we have similar feet, so there’s that…
Right, have to get dinner on. Gwan with ye.
I find myself less and less able to review and comment on sad events on social media. I noticed it with the dead of the pilots of 116. No words would even come close to matching that tragedy, and why should it? Who am I? The appalling nature of it in my minds eye, the spinning and crashing and violence of it all, followed by their pain and their deaths; a like on facebook? A heart on twitter? This is my landscape? No.
It means that when something is on Facebook, I’ll scroll. Al Jazeera is on my feed, and they are real. The starving in somalia, the gaza strip, the white helments in Aleppo, it is all there to see. They will bring you to the whitened cateract of the dead child under the rubble and make no apologies for it. And it does matter. I have and will continue to contact governments, ministers, TDs for it.
But what about me? My stomach sick, my heart lowered, my mental health punched. Returning from illness means I see this all anew, and I cannot. I cannot and will not be the drama they want to create. I will not give them the adrenaline they need. I will fight for a long time, not just for a battle for them.
And the need for sensationalism is everywhere. This blog was inspired by the widower of the slain police officer in France, who’s funeral oration is posted by the Guardian, which I scrolled right past. A private and unending sorrow that my sympathy as a stranger will do nothing to allieve. I provide them with nothing by my further distress. No.
Is it maturity? Is it a move towards unfeeling conservatism, that some political commentators develop as they get older? No, it is not. If anything, it seems I am getting more reserved, and saving the reduced energy I have for what I believe in the strongest (collapse of the world order and wealth distribution, mental health provision, female rights and oops did I say that out loud). Me get older. Me now know me not wise. Me act accordingly. And onwards.