Black Moods, Milk and Oats

Strike two. Woke up again to a morning that was all but a good one. While I did sink into Anna-mode and had a good ol’ sulk, what I discovered once I started to emerge from my black mist was how to apply the lesson from Friday: take downturns and turn them into something positive. It might seem like the simplest, most obvious thing you could ever do as a writer, but for this 38-yearold it only truly dawned on me this morning. Well, I had the lightbulb moment with R (her suggestion, of course) on Friday, but it was this morning that I for the first time was hit by a huge wave of inspiration that had sprung from, well, shit. Stinky freaking SHIT.

I’ve always stolen parts of real life, real people and real feelings – of course. But I have never used feeling low and miserable to create what will add magic to a scene. So there we are, and now I feel almost elated as a result! It’s amazing what you can train your mind to do once you step away from your own expectations, habits and patterns. 

Stephen knew that Monica was beyond where he could reach her the day she stopped making porridge. 

Oh, I know, sounds truly rubbish, right? You’d be wrong, however – I know this will add something powerful to how Alice learns to understand her mother and trace her past. Magic! 

Normally, when on rare occasions I am held hostage by a bad mood, I allow it to ruin my day and usually it puts a complete halt to my writing and creativity. Not now though, that I’m learning to apply it to what I write. What this crappy morning ended up doing was to add another layer to Alice’s story, and I actually feel it could be a significant one too, as opposed to just a small observation. Who knew you could create so much from milk and oats? 

And because I’ve abandoned other old habits like feeling I have to write everything in order, I can now create more around the half-way mark, really delve into when Monica stopped making porridge, instead of like before noting down a good idea when it came to me and only use it once I got to that bit. Which usually meant I never got to it at all as I delayed the parts that were screaming to be written and made myself try (and invariably fail) to force out everything that should come before it. 

It’s incredible, this feeling! Knowing and witnessing everything just falling into place, with this story I am coming to love more each day and all its characters, twists and turns springing to life. When I took the plunge to do this, Alice was on life support, dying of neglect. A couple of weeks ago, she was still on crutches, so it’s lovely to see her without even the slightest limp. In fact, she’s skipping along without a care in the world. OK, not true – it’s Alice, after all, and Alice is deeply troubled and broken in many ways, but you get my drift. She’s got a voice now, and so do the others. 

That makes this day that started out so shitty a truly great one. Another thing that makes it very special is that it’s today exactly a year ago that B and I moved in together. Officially, that is. He moved in with me the 1st of August, but it was on the 31st that the lease on his own place ended and we let everyone know.

Amazingly, for someone as feisty and argumentative as I am, it has been strangely smooth sailing. That truly astonishes me, as I have always loved my own company, always needed me-time and was perfectly content flying solo. Enter B, and these days I can’t think of anything worse than not being with him. I miss him so much when he’s away that it’s almost physical, this need to be close to him. Even when we sleep, we seem to sleep almost on top of each other, all tangled up or at the very least there is some part of us touching even if it’s just one of us having reached over and placed a hand on the other’s tummy. I’ve never been this happy, B being another part of my life that just came together. 

I used to say, up until very recently, that it took me a long while to once and for all do what I should have done all along, but I’m learning that things happen for a reason, and perhaps it’s the case that both B and Alice came into my life exactly the moment they were meant to. That now is the right time. I’m trying to let go of those old demons that only served to hold me back, and therefore I know that life has taken all the turns it was meant to, and it’s only because of who I am today and where I find myself, that things are now happening and unfolding the way they are.

What makes me giggle is that I’ve always been happy. Now I need a new word for it, because ‘happy’ doesn’t truly contain how amazingly good I feel about everything. 

And the best thing of all, with this started-crap-but-turned-out-amazing Sunday, is that Monkey is back with us from this evening. How I can’t wait to hug my little hooligan and bury my nose in that Monkey-neck!

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