I haven’t been writing very much lately. Life is very busy, and I have many things I need to do before I can even think about spending time with just myself and my laptop. I have an essay to write for my counselling course, and it’s nearing the end of the school year, so we’re all tired from school runs and homework (and I’m partly dreading the summer holidays – all that time to fill with no lunchtime nap break, and two boys whose main aim in life is to wind each other up).
I think about writing pretty much all the time though, and I’m trying to make some notes for a new project of mine – a comedy based in a library (that sounds cringeworthy, and it could all go tits up before I finish the first draft). But also, lately, I’ve been thinking about why I don’t talk about my writing much in my daily life.
The main reason is that most people in my life don’t even know that I write. A lot of the people I socialise with are friends I’ve met through being a mum, and telling people I write also means that I have to disclose what I’m writing about. There’s no toddler play date that’s suitable for discussing alcoholism. There’s no point in proceedings between making sure your child doesn’t smear banana over your host’s new sofa, or trying to stop him chasing the pet cat’s tail, or emptying the bookshelves that you think, “Oh, now would be a good point to slip it into the conversation.”
Easier just to push it to one side, and remember this is how most ‘mum friendships’ work, and be grateful that I am lucky enough to have a group of people with who I can have a laugh and a moan with.
On the very rare occasions when I have mentioned my writing to anyone, they’ve either viewed me suspiciously and backed off, or they’ve asked lots of questions that I can’t answer. I worry people think I’m some kind of supermum who manages to juggle writing with raising a family, running a household, and work/studying – which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m definitely not a supermum, my house is a tip, and I don’t have boundless patience for children’s activities. I don’t even do as much writing as I’d like anyway. So I tend to keep quiet, because the last thing I want to do is make anyone feel like they should be doing things differently (I feel like that much of the time myself).
The truth is, I write to survive; it’s as simple as that.
My writing is only thing that keeps me going, the one thing that keeps me sane, and is my means of bridging the gap between my past, present and future. If anything threatens that lifeline, then I can’t risk losing it. My life is all about keeping on the right side of a very fine line between maintaining a facade of coping while keeping all the plates spinning, and falling off that cliff that’s always right in front of me.
Some things are just too precious to give away. Which is why it’s just easier not to talk about it.
I’m hoping that when I get going more with my latest writing project, then telling people might become that bit easier, and less risky. But I’ll make no promises.