Today began with the shocking news that a very lovely woman had died. I met her on my writing course and hoped that we could become friends. My heart aches and I struggle to understand how so much life could simply be gone – it must be unbearable for her family.
However, I’m not going to write about her – it’s not my place to bring you an obituary, though she was one of the most generous, warmest, funniest and most talented people I’d met in a long time. She was also powerfully private and contained. Hers is not my story to tell.
Instead, what I want to tell are more of my own stories, thoughts, feelings, fleeting notions, ramblings and any other damn thing that crosses my mind. I’ve been somewhat stalled lately, holding back because – now that I’m nearly a proper writer (by which I mean that I know what a narrative arc is and I get invited to more book launches) – I must try harder. Afraid that I’ll be found out before long. So I wait until I have time to edit and polish and create something impressive and brilliant.
Guess what? I never get a damn thing finished and in the mean time my head fills up with half-baked and almost-formed notions. Impacted creativity and constipated inspiration. Then, I start to get really cross with myself because I simply must write something that does justice to, say, the solemn intimacy of the dancers at the ballroom in Blackpool or the unexpected ramifications of finding a passport inside the drum of your washing machine. And I know that if I don’t do it soon, these things will be lost forever, along with that thing I did last week and other important details.
So I eat and I pretend to write. Or I find things to clean and mend (not for long or very well) and I look at Facebook. But not any longer, my talented friend could write most of us into a cocked hat, but she didn’t get the chance. Quite clearly, there are worse things that could happen than you write something that isn’t actually very good and someone you admire reads it. At least it was written in the first place.
Just get on with it.