For a long time now, possibly years, I’ve been toying with giving up my writing. In any event, lately, I haven’t been writing much at all, and the dismay of my paralysis has been hard to get my head round.
So I’ve tried to ignore this particular patch of desert, to pretend that lockdown and its outcomes do not affect me. Though my situation remains surprisingly similar to what it has always been, the realities of lockdown, with their peculiar mix of worry and resignation, make working on a fictional series about hard-pressed women – and men – rather hard to justify.
Do I need to justify it? Lately, there have been so many good reasons why I should stop writing: I have lots of calls on my time, from my husband, my daughter, my sisters, friends, my mother, even my daughter’s guinea-pigs; but sitting here, crafting and editing my work, I am reminded again that I do sincerely delight in this particular combination of concentration and escapism.
Even when so much of writing seems to be carried out it a private world that feels like a vacuum, how could I excuse a final decision to stop, when writing makes me smile and feel good? I also know that it is one real, tangible thing I do, that my husband sincerely supports. He wants me to keep writing. And I’ve seen how the things that contribute to our happiness and sense of fulfilment make the routines and hardships of life easier to live with. Constructing fictional worlds is the nearest I’ll ever get to time travel; or, at this time, to actual travel, which is another reason why I will be keeping going.
I’m working now on a final edit of my three novels, which though they each stand alone, also represent a series of characters whose lives may work out in so many different ways. I’m almost driven to conclude that my novels are, as they stand, only outlines, scoping out what might happen, never cast in stone.
That I’m keeping going in itself gives me reason to feel celebratory.
Thanks for reading.