This is going to sound melodramatic (but hey, you know me, right?). I realised today that I’m currently fighting for my life.
I don’t have cancer, nor am I trapped in a nuclear bunker or anything (although I’m pictured in one above!) But these past few months I’ve been urgently writing a novel. I say urgently because it FEELS urgent at the moment. My motivation? This is my Eminem-style one-shot moment. OK – so again, I’m not struggling along on Eight-Mile, I live in Zurich, Switzerland, of all places! But, while I’m in this position where myself and my little family are stable, relatively happy and secure, we currently have no paid employment (although we have some income). We are trapped, even if quite pleasantly, in a situation where we can’t do anything major such as buying a house, or even moving to a different rented flat, nor plan a large overseas holiday such as a trip back to Australia. We don’t know what will happen in the next 12 months and everything’s in stasis. Well not entirely in stasis. Because, in some ways, I’m busier than ever.
I’ve talked about writing a novel for years. Who hasn’t? But this particular time is one of the few moments in my life I’ve actually had the space, and kinda the right headspace, to go for it. And I’ve been going for it like the clappers. I’ve pounded out 70,000+ words in about three months (part of it during November’s NaNoWriMo). A rough draft of the book is finished. I wouldn’t call it a “first draft” yet – that, to me, would imply something I could hand over to a few, very kind, first readers. This thing I’ve produced is a mess with notes and loose ends and chunks that will need to be completely trashed and possibly whole sections still to be written. And yet, IT IS DONE.
I haven’t made a big fuss about completing and I’ve been questioning myself as to why. I tell you, it’s because I’m fighting for my life and the battle is far from over. I’m about a year off turning 40. Therefore I’m looking down the barrel of another ~30 years of “career” after having completed a shade over 20 years of working up until now. I cannot think of anything I’d rather do – that I actually can do – than write for myself and get paid and maybe become a Rockstar poet. I’m waging my own personal war towards achieving both those things right now because if it doesn’t get happening in this short, sweet lull in my life, I honestly don’t think it ever will.
So there you go. I’m in a frenzy. I’m working hard but it’s all for my own ends. I’m doing what I love. I’m happy. I’m a ball of anxiety. I’m lonely. I’m content. I’m completing pieces of work and kicking goals like a mofo but I’ve barely even reached Base Camp on Everest at this stage. There is no time to stop and pop the Champers (Oh, OK maybe just a little…) Because I’m writing for my life. Please wish me luck.
I don’t usually say this – but if you enjoy my blog and poetry, please chuck me a like or a follow – I really appreciate it. I’m also trying to wean myself off my horrible, sickeningly near-constant use of Facebook so if you wish to keep up with my exploits, this blog will be a good place to do so!
A couple of late-breaking links – right after I wrote this, I saw this article on How Your Novel Will Save The World and this wonderful Mary Oliver poem “Going Deeper”, which basically cover the same ground. You can only save yourself.