It’s bizarre, given that we’re in lockdown, but I seem to have less time than ever.
Now that I have no playgroups to go to with my son, now we can’t go to the beach, see our friends and relations, or even go to the park up the road to go on the swings for a bit (yes, me as well as him), inexplicably I have even less time to read, to exercise, to keep things clean, tidy and organised, and (arguably more importantly) to write. Especially my diaries.
I have kept a diary since I was nine years old. I have had a few ritual burnings along the way, but ultimately have found that you cannot ‘edit the past’ (as I once wrote in a novel I’ve now taken off the internet) without killing everyone and everything ever, because even though we exist simply because we are (nod to William F Aicher’s A Confession), unconsciously or not, our existence affects everything we come into contact with, as do our thoughts. Possibly. Probably. We’re all inextricably linked. Anyway. Keeping diaries has helped me make sense of the world and my life, get things off my chest, and record things that I don’t want to be forgotten. And as I’ve said – or meant to say – I haven’t been keeping them very well recently.
At the start of lockdown, I read that many writers were having trouble writing. I wasn’t – I’d never been busier, and was burning the candle both ends. But I get it now. And, as usual, the epiphany came through writing.
I took a day off work today, in order to catch up with everything in my writing life. I spent some considerable time journaling (I’m so glad that this is now a ‘thing’), and I finished with the word ‘NEVERMORE’. It’s the refrain from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven, and I’d written it spontaneously.
You may, or may not, already know that I love Poe’s writings, and that The Raven is my all-time favourite poem.
When I put this website together, I did so with the intention of blogging once a fortnight. Obviously that hasn’t happened, and at first there seemed to me to be myriad reasons for this. However, once I’d written ‘NEVERMORE’, it was obvious that there was just one reason, and that reason has infiltrated every part of my life. Without me noticing. Again.
What came first – the depression or the OCD? Who knows? Who cares?
Why is it so bad again now? Who knows? Who cares?
And it’s painfully ironic, because no matter how much I do my best to promote mental health awareness, I’ve been yelling at myself over and over that I must get a grip, pull myself together, stop being so weak and negative, that I am a very lucky person and other people are having a hell of a worse time of it than me and they’re all achieving much more than I am every day. Last week at work, a colleague and I were laughing because I couldn’t gather my thoughts enough to get a document up on the computer. It was as if my brain was full of treacle. I said to her in exasperation – or desperation, or whatever it was – I’m using up someone else’s air!
So apologies for the silence. But here’s something positive: I’ve completely finished the novel that runs alongside TDofU – currently known as Glasshouse – and am writing the third in the series.And now I’ve realised what the problem is, I can do something about it.
Franz Kafka said ‘A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.’ If Edgar Allan Poe had said that, it would have tied this piece up nicely. But he didn’t. Please bear with me – I am moving and thinking through treacle right now. What Poe did say, however, is ‘Never to suffer would never to have been blessed’, so I’ll go with that. Yep, the raven sitting above my door is nodding its approval.
Stay safe, everyone.