Hurrah – the book is finished! A couple of glasses of whisky and I have a final draft of 101416 words that has taken 1 year and 11 months to complete. Next is the endless round of rejections and I am trying not to think about those just yet. The next book is bubbling away and I have to write it.
The book does come from personal experience. There is point in denying that. I thought examining the unbearable pain of desertion by a long-term online friend would make it easier to deal with. It hasn’t. If I allow myself to think for one moment about him, I get a physical pain like I am being punched very hard in my rib cage. I thought that by inventing a story about what might happen if I searched for him, it would stop. As Ishbel says in the novel, ‘I think of you every hour of every day’. When I wrote that I did not realise how true it was. I do think of him of every day. Now the book is complete it is time to forget him. Having allowed myself to care so deeply for another person, I shall need some damn good reasons to do that again.
In the last two years, I have come to think of myself as essentially unlovable. If I consider all my partners, not one of them has ever cared much about me; I am too capable, too self-sufficient. I am useful to them, I can arrange their lives, their work and look decorative at parties. But what goes on in my head is just too much trouble for them. They don’t see what I see and that is the end of it. So I shall label myself ‘reject’ and get on with it. I shall tell jokes about it. Maybe I should get the T shirt.
I don’t regret giving up so much to write this book, there was never a choice. I miss Sydney and, most of all, I miss the ocean. Now the book is finished I am free to decide what must come next. Staying in England is not an option anymore. I remember reading Doris Lessing’s Memoirs of Survivor and being terrified of finding myself somewhere as poisonous and uncaring. Lessing’s predictions are ringing very true at the moment.
So a nice clean page. The next strand. I must look for a place to be, where I am safe and happy and probably alone. Preferably with water.