I had me some Me Time today. Let me tell you that when you have three kids, no family on the same continent to hand them over to when you’ve had enough, a husband working his butt off and travelling a lot, there is nothing you relish more than an hour or two of no-one asking, wanting, touching or needing.
I went to a cool, white place. It was quiet. People spoke in hushed tones. There were some subtle touches of green. The rooms were nicely lit. Everything was clean, spotlessly so. I lay down on a really comfortable chair. Someone tended to me. I drifted off; thought about blogging. I thought about how lucky I am to have landed in amongst some people who are as interested in books and writing and the writing life as I am. I wondered about a book, my book. I wondered when and how it would happen. Since I have always known I would write, since before I could even write my name, I have always known I would write a book. That writing such a book – whatever it would turn out to be – would make me a writer.
As I lay there in the cool white room, with such a pleasant person looking after me, I thought: I am a writer. I write and people pay me. I am a writer. I write and people read it. I am a writer. I love the swoosh of words from my head to my hands to a screen. I love the feeling of a well-turned sentence. I even love a bad one. One day, maybe sooner, maybe later, the book will happen. But I am already a writer.
I admire enormously the people who are getting out and actually doing it: YogaMum, Nova, BikeProf, BlogLily, Helen, Courtney. I admire their tenacity, their motivation and their courage. I am fascinated by the creative process, and how they are living it, separately, differently, but through their blogs, communally. I love reading about the writing life.
I also thought, lying there in the calm, quiet room, that in order to write life, you need to live it. I love the way my life is presenting itself for living now: I love watching my children grow through their stages – how one is poised to read and I know it will bring her so much joy, how another is finding immense physical confidence (something I never had) which I imagine must be joyful, and how another is finding his words and the delight that brings both him and us. I love how being an outsider in a culture allows me to be an observer; how that allows me to engage as and when I choose, but also to step aside and watch. I am warmly wrapped in my family but only coolly so in Germany. I love how, as I approach 40, I am not scared anymore, but that I can look back on fear and put it to very good use in writing. I thought, peacefully in the white room, that life has presented me with a cast of very colourful characters and that when I get round to peopling a novel, it will be a mere case of cherry-picking the best of them. Mixing and matching too, patchworking a little, but they are all already there.
And then the lovely lady said that she was finished and Herr Wieland would see me now. Herr Wieland came in, and, speaking very quietly and peacefully, told me that some of my fillings would need replacing.
Yes, folks, I was at the dentist.