This is the sea I live beside, and the laughing beauty in the brine is Anna, who in true London-girl style rolled up her jeans and ran into the waves as soon as we reached the beach. Her jeans got so wet that she was shivering as we walked along to the pier and bought chips swimming in vinegar, eaten with gusto sat on the pavement alongside the grockles*. Anna is a travel journalist extraordinaire, and this week she is off to Verbier for skiing fun, and next week it’s Tobago to lie on the beach and watch turtles. I’ve made no secret of how I’m sick with envy.
So I’ve been blogging for a week now, and it’s becoming more and more addictive, you were all right. The best part of finding new blogs to read is that generally there’s a whole archive of posts waiting to be explored, so I find myself like I did last night, staying up till midnight reading them. I’ve discovered I’m susceptible to blog envy; I’ve also realised I may have to start two more blogs: 1. The Moaning Blog and 2. The Witty Journo Blog, as inspired by this very witty blogger, just to mix it up a little. For now, though, I’m loving the connection I’m feeling with this sisterhood I’ve found ~ balm to my bruises.
I don’t know what picture of myself I’m drawing in this blog, but I like the fact that it’s exercising so many writerly muscles. My inner critic is an ugly medusa who turns somersaults every time I write, banging her gnarled fists against my tender dreams and telling me I’m rubbish, that the words I write are flimsy and impotent. Writer’s block is such an insidious condition isn’t it, yet I’m not blocked so much as having a natural pause, waiting for the meeting with my agent to get the go ahead to carry on. Writing TB is a very emotional experience for me – there’s a link on my website that until recently gave a description of the book I’m writing, but I’ve now changed it to say ‘under construction’. I’ve just realised that I mean this quite literally. TB, you see, is a fictionlised account of the last year of my life. Write what you know, that’s what they say isn’t it? What was going to be a book of grief, a beacon to help others find their way back to the shore has now, at my agent’s very intuitive suggestion, become fiction – or ‘fact-ion’ as she called it. For two years the man I loved and I had a very unique relationship, for reasons I’m not ready to go into here just yet; suffice to say there might be readers who’ll be helped by this book, but most of all, I’m writing it for me. Even if it was never to be published, it’s helping me grow in confidence about who I truly am – a writer – and allowing me to stitch together not only my new existence, but make sense of the past too. As I put my proposal together I learnt that Joan Didion’s wonderful book, The Year of Magical Thinking, won the US National Book Award award. I took this as a sign ~ I was doing the right thing. Didion’s book is beautifully written with her typical journalistic candour and questioning mind. My book will be very different, but both, I hope, add to the canon of work already out there that opens a window on grief and loss.