Recently, I have been reflecting on what writing means to me, and whether my time is well spent. I mean, seriously, what is it all about? Why have I put myself through five of the most difficult, emotionally draining and – let’s face it – financially unrewarding years of my life? If I was an outsider, considering pros and cons, on the surface, I would conclude that Fran Macilvey is peculiarly driven: driven to work all-nighters while her family sleeps; driven to continue with the next project, the next hope, despite setbacks, illness and puzzlement from those more sober and grounded citizens of my acquaintance who really would prefer that I would apply my energies to a proper, reasonable, sensible and obvious job. Why, for goodness’ sake, must I always be different?
Because I am, is all. I make that sound nonchalant, easy to say. But if my life has taught me anything, it is the total futility of trying to keep up with other ‘ordinary’ people who have ‘ordinary’ jobs. I’ve tried that – really, I have – and it has only led to heartbreak and loss of a different kind.
In the old days, the pain was about not belonging, never fitting in, and never really understanding what was going on; I had that sinking feeling which made it plain that I never would understand, no matter how hard I might try. Nowadays, though there have been a few disappointments and false starts, I am more certain that I understand the basics and will continue to make progress. On my present path, every difficulty lends itself to a purpose, for a reason. It is easier to notice the ways in which unexpected outcomes serve a longer-term goal.
And above all, I write so that I may share my experiences with others. I can write, and so I should. I can explain, and so I do, in the hope that those who may read my pieces know that I understand something of their loneliness, their anger, even their desolation. It is not unusual to have these feelings, it is not peculiar or suspicious. They are just part of life.
Gradually, writing had revealed that our ‘bad’ experiences often complement the ‘good’, making our lives a tapestry which, when we look back at it, hopefully fills us with gratitude and optimism. That is how I see myself making the best of life’s knots, at any rate.
Thanks for reading.