I’ve had a week of furious typing, post-its, scribbling in pencil and… filling in forms. With the arrival of a new person into the world comes a whole host of forms needed to prove the poor blighter’s existence to the government / NHS / my landlord. He doesn’t even have a real pair of shoes yet (we have been remiss in this, but I’ve a novel to finish and in this house if you don’t walk, you don’t get shoes) and yet we’ve had to jump through all kinds of hoops to get him a birth certificate, registered with a doctor, alert the fine people at HMRC to his existence and justify my own continuing existence to a health visitor. All activities that are accompanied by forms, questions and questionnaires.
I’m a grumpy get at the best of times (you hadn’t noticed?) but PLEASE, when I’m working to a deadline, on much less sleep than I’d like and have a bit of a 1000 piece Disney jigsaw puzzle stuck to my hair with vomited breast-milk (he’s been easy on the crap, this past few days) DON’T look at me like I’m a deluded, sorry fantasist in need of intervention when you ask me what I do for a living for your bloody FORM and I answer honestly. Think of how many books there are in the world. Someone’s got to write them, haven’t they?
My favourite quiz of the week is the one they use to check if you’re depressed or not. Tick boxes. Do you feel like harming yourself and / or others a) never b) sometimes c) on a near constant basis. I answer C, and clarify that this isn’t a post-partum thing, but is how I always feel, especially when asked invasive questions by someone I’ve never met before who invited themselves around to my house and sneered at me when I told them what I do for a living, (really? That’s nice. And what did you do for a job?.) then followed it up by asking me what my husband thought of it… (very little, I should imagine).
I’m not going to tell these people I’m a writer any more. I’m going to say I’m a detective, a spy, a magician. I’m a consultant escapologist. I’m a private eye. I’m Columbo’s wife. I’m Mrs Hudson, Sherlock Holmes’ landlady. I’m Harriet the Spy. I’m a cross between Nancy Drew and Nana Mouskouri. I make stuff up. I type very fast in two hour bursts, sometimes at night, sometimes holding the baby, sometimes while eating breakfast.
Here’s an ambivalent review of A Kind of Intimacy from L-Magazine, ‘New York City’s Local Event and Arts And Culture Guide.’