In between the published works –
the novel that did OK
a story in that collection put together by MA students,
a poem here, a poem there
the joy of a short-listing
the folder of ‘no longer on submission’ scribblings
there is the ‘other’ stuff.
I couldn’t fit it all into the bookshelf:
hours spent tinkering with broken friends, instead of broken sentences;
days spent with Netflix, instead of cutting, instead of copy-pasting;
weeks spent holding the cat, instead of the pen
piggy-bank empty and smashed. All spent.
Tears leaking from the hot water tank
shredded text messages used for mouse nests
reams of progress stacked, dormant
still in their polythene. Sterile blank pages.
Where is all the work I could have done
if other people had been
kind? accepting? loyal?
had trusted my life had to be lived this way?
Would it work to introduce my trauma as a character in this blog?
Well, I don’t have to do it twice…
Let’s call them Mx T. You know I’m going to give them they/them pronouns and title, right?
Mx T moved house with us in July. I was worried they wouldn’t fit in anywhere, but the removals firm sent an extra lorry and winched Mx T on.
We tried to leave them in the driveway, but…
I kept moving them from room to room and because they are so heavy I was exhausted. Those first days, I kept having to go to bed. Mr HB was a hero: he sorted the kids out and did everything that required a screwdriver or a practical brain, while I lay in bed as it pitched and rolled. Balanced above Mx T, stuffed underneath.
It’s weird, I only spent just over a year in full-time academia, and yet September is still my ‘new beginnings’ month.
January is just lentils and baked beans and NO FUN until pay day, am I right?
This year is even more special because since the beginning of the summer we’ve moved house, and both kids are at new schools.
And I’d love to tell you I’m turning over a new leaf – that all the rest of the ‘stuff’ is in the past – that I’m going to stay well and, um, whine less.
But everyone knows you can’t run away from yourself.
What I now like to refer to as ‘my trauma’ has come with me, and is enjoying the new house just as much as I am. We are working together, and hoping to feel better soon.