Career for a collapsing woman 2

It is simply thrilling, having a writing career which seems set to unfold in gentle ripples around me. It seems quite astonishing that I, of all people, should be able to say, with truth as well as conviction, “I am a writer” and be able to point to some evidence of success in that line.

Ahead of publication in less than three weeks, I feel so happy, very excited, more than a little scared and plagued with self-doubt: The changeable moods that flood through me are disorientating, yet I rediscover every day the power of relaxing and letting go. I may as well relax, wait and see what happens after “Trapped” is published. In some ways, the hard bits have already been done, since writing my magnum opus has been rather like having an operation on my heart without the benefit of anaesthetic. I have to trust that it will all work out well.

The audio script for ‘Trapped’ is also more or less sorted, ready for reading, ready for whenever I am told the studio is ready for me. If I had a retentive kind of mind, I would have the text word-perfect by now, and could recite it without the script at all. The words and the sentiments, the voices, are as familiar to me as vanilla ice-cream; so of course I want to read it. But it is so very intimate, in parts, so very private, that I occasionally feel as if the whole world will witness my humiliation and my pain. Reading a paper book is usually a private affair, but if I am also speaking aloud, I feel as if I am handing myself and all my intimate secrets over on very public plate. Does that feel humiliating? Yes, occasionally, and I don’t know why.

I am aware that ‘exposure’ and ‘humiliation’ narratives are only one side of the coin, the other side perhaps etched with ‘candour’, ‘bravery’ or ‘sharing’.  Nevertheless, from a place of relative calm, I observe a bewildering array of emotions, spilled like pins from a sewing box, which threaten to pierce my peace of mind at every hand and turn. Sometimes, caught unaware, it feels as if an unknown person is standing outside the room flicking the light switch on and off, on and off, just for fun. Should I get bereavement counselling for my poor old life?

What most readers may notice goes beyond the shame. Perhaps, reading aloud now will help me to have another period of coming to terms. I intend to give a reading to be proud of.

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