One day, when I’m out of this editing wilderness, a place I’ve been stuck in since Boxing Day, I’ll write a proper blog post again. First, I need to regain some energy. The last six weeks have been huge. I’ve learnt a lot about writing, life, truth and forgiveness. I’ve had some lonely times, and I’ve had a few weird anxiety attacks in the night. But I’ve also done a lot of good work. None of it has been easy, though. On my walk this afternoon, I noticed a family having relaxed Sunday drinks, and a woman was laughing – loudly and freely – like she didn’t have a care in the world. I was envious.
A few weeks ago, I bought an old caravan for my 19-year-old son’s birthday. Today it arrived in my front yard, where it is resting for a few days before my son heads off to the north coast. I sat in the caravan today and looked at the bamboo leaves outside the levered window and thought: I could live here. Such a simple home – and I only paid the equivalent of a week’s groceries for it. Why did I give this caravan to my son, I wondered. I want to go away in it myself … escape from endlessly editing my manuscript.
I’ll get through it, of course – and the UQP team have been absolutely wonderful – but there are big decisions to face when you are about to publish a book which is, among other things, a family memoir. Recently, when I was complaining to my online writing group about some of the problems I was encountering, one of the members said: ‘Helena, although I know it really sucks right now, I think the difficulties that are making you never want to write memoir again are also what will make the memoir excellent.’
I think she may be right, but oh my goodness … who’d be a writer, eh?
PS: I submitted my PhD on the 16th December!