The dust has settled a little thick on my blog (and on every surface in my house if I’m honest) but there is just time enough left in this year to redeem myself slightly. And a blog post won out over cleaning. No brainer.
I didn’t quite mean to leave it so long to post here but sometimes life gets in the way of good intentions. That was the case this year. It’s been a tough one but I’ll spare you the details. I’ve been writing though. Just not here.
An essay in Boundless started my writing year and sent it off in a direction I wasn’t exactly expecting. The essay was one I’d written years previously but had never had the courage to make public. A memoir about mental health, miscarriage, psychiatric wards, ECT. Pretty heavy stuff (but funny too, if you like your humour pitch-black). It had such a brilliant response and I had so many requests to tell more of the story that I put aside my novel-in-progress and started working on a full-length memoir (although given that ECT shot gaping holes in my memory, perhaps ‘memoir’ is not the most accurate word to describe what I’m writing.)
It’s weird revisiting the past. Especially a traumatic past. Exhausting in a way that writing a novel isn’t. But what is really amazing for me is that I can do it at all. That I can revisit difficult times without being lost in them. Even a year or two ago, it would have been too much. I’d have felt every shake of anxiety, every tear, every crushing episode of despair, every twitch of paranoia, every lurch of fear.
Time helped. Friends helped. Love helped. And my writing too. It filled my head with other things when ruminations and intrusive thoughts threatened. I wrote about it for booksbywomen.org earlier this month. I’ll see what happens with the memoir-in-inverted-commas. Maybe it will be too difficult, too personal to try to publish. Maybe it will make me too vulnerable. Maybe it will intrude to much on the lives of those closest to me. But I’ll carry on for now because it won’t leave me alone.
Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash
2 thoughts on “Life, writing and other excuses”
Hope you can keep going, Helen, as the writing I have seen is so worth it. Things will find their way and maybe you will write something else too. Good to see you back on the blog. Best wishes from Dorset for 2020 – Happy New Year!
Thank you, Maria. That is so encouraging to hear. Happy New Year to you too. Hope 2020 is a great writing year for you.
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