In the past, when I’ve been asked if I’d like to give up my job and write full time, I’ve always said no, of course not – what would I have to write about?
My computer? My keyboard? My waste-paper basket full of orange peel, wet tea-bags, screwed up bits of note-paper and a pair of socks that even I, tight-arse of the year, could see had worn out long past darning?
And what about being lonely? And what about getting fat and lazy and spending the afternoons asleep, or watching Kim and Aggie on You Tube, or spying on the neighbours, or hoovering the cat-hair from the stair carpet?
And what about never having any money and starving to death and taking the Small Fry, who wants me to buy her a set of ballet lessons and a pony, with me? Starving? To death? To death! To actual, death. By starvation.
Deep breaths now. One at a time. That’s better.
And actually, I am doing okay. I am not bored. I am not lonely. It is not that different. I am doing during the day what I used to do long into the night. I get to wear jeans and odd socks. I don’t need to brush my hair if I don’t feel like it, and I rarely feel like it. I can be flexible about the hours I work. I can spend more time with the Small Fry in the evenings. I have not run out of ideas. If I start starving (to death!) I can get a job. I am still a librarian. I have skills.
This month has been a quiet month, events wise – and that, I think, has helped. Apart from the Edinburgh Festival later in August (with the lovely Ray Robinson) and a mentoring session, and a few extra meetings relating to the freelance projects I’ve taken on, there isn’t any signing and chatting about Annie and reading bits out of a book that is now three years in my past and nothing like what I’d write now.
August is turning out to be a good time to think about things, to come back to being the kind of person who wants to write about a woman remembering a teenage girl who did something that was worse than she realised at the time, and find out about Morecambe Bay, and drowning, and bio luminescence.
I think I was probably a proper writer before. Maybe everyone does it in bed, eating oranges and spitting the pips at the skirting boards by the side of the chest of drawers.
It’s ten points for a direct hit, you know.