The rather amazing thing is that all that wild yelling yesterday did the trick. The wounding blow has now shrunk to a humming bruise. It is still there; it still exists; but I have perspective now. I am back on my feet.
I have a growing suspicion that this is what happens in middle age. Life gets very whackish at this time. It’s always biffing you and bashing you and smashing you to the ground. The biffs and bashes may be so small that they are hardly visible to the naked eye. They may be profound and oceanic, so that you feel as if you must drown. They are sometimes nothing to do with you. They are not personal, but out in the world. You turn on the news and there are stories of such sorrow and pity that your heart aches in your chest, in a sort of furious, regretful impotence. I sometimes think that all I am doing is falling down and getting up again. I sometimes wonder how I get any work done at all.
Yet, amazingly, in all this tumbling over and getting up, I have managed to finish my Secret Project. There are 98,000 words where there are none. I cannot yet tell whether they are good words, but they exist. I have to put them aside for three days and then do a paper edit, where I print out the manuscript and read it on actual paper. (The brain responds differently to words on paper and words on the screen, which is why this printing out is vital. You suddenly see glaring errors which were not visible before.)
Even if the words are not much good, I still feel quite proud of myself. I am a huge believer in buggering on, in not giving up, in putting one weary, stompy foot in front of the other. There were days in this secret project when I missed my mother so much that I felt my heart would crack into a hundred pieces, when the weight of grief was so heavy I did not think I could carry it any more. I felt stupid and lost and overwhelmed. But somehow I trudged to my desk and made my fingers tap tap tap over the keyboard. There must be words, and there were words.
There was nothing, and now there is something. I can’t quite believe it. I’m not exactly putting out more flags, but I’m damn well going to allow myself a little bit of bunting.