Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Still Do

Before I sat down to think about this post, I was sure that no significantly disappointing thing had ever informed my writing. I mean sure, jobs I've had have sucked donkey balls. Jobs I still have suck donkey balls. I've made bad decisions, upset people, made the wrong choices.

But none of that has ever mattered enough to me to warrant space in my stories. Real things - purchases made, jobs had, bus rides I've taken, holidays I've been on - have never been so exciting to me or so interesting that they've informed my writing.

And then it occurred to me:

That's my disappointment. My barren acre. Reality.

When I first started writing at the age of twelve or thirteen, I didn't do it because it looked cool, or because I thought it would make me famous. I did it out of a sense of longing, for all the things life definitely wasn't turning out to be.

I wanted love, and what I got was a bunch of sticky, asshole-ish teenage boys, who either didn't want to snog me at all, or wanted to shove their tongues down my throat inside a giant plastic bubble on a playground.

I want to be carried up a hill, while crying. I wanted to run through a maze, with Gary Oldman chasing me. I wanted to desperately need the ghost of my dead husband. Instead, I got some idiot chalking my name on the pavement at a caravan park, for mystifying reasons I couldn't fathom.

I couldn't fathom reality. Reality was and is some bizarre mixture of horrifying shocks and endless mundanity. Where as fiction...ah, fiction is lovely. In fiction, the world can be whatever I want it to be.

Nobody has to die, unless I say so. No one has to prove themselves awesomely disappointing, in every single way. Nothing has to go wrong, and if it does it's only to make the highs sweeter, the love stronger, the stakes higher.

And the longing...oh the longing. It doesn't have to be one stretch into forever, a perpetual yearning without end. At some point in my stories, the longing is always met. The yearning culminates in something magical, wonderful, full of love.

Oh, love. Oh love. How I miss you, my imaginary love. And you should know, too, that it's all for you. Everything, all of this, all my words...they're all for you, and always have been.


  1. The whole ghost lover thing? Yeah, sounds romantic, until you try to have sex. Gary Oldham chasing you... now that sounds delicious. Just be sure to time your dramatic trip just right.

  2. Ah, the longing...

    When the objects of our passion do not exist, we are forced to invent them.

    Great twist on the topic, Charlotte!

  3. Oh, the essential complexity and beauty of the inner mind. How delicious and how it does, whether we know it or not, colour our reality.

  4. Kathleen - LOL! But it was so orsum in Truly Madly Deeply!

    Lisabet - thanks!

    RG - what a beautiful way to put it!


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