So this was it? Three months, hundreds of cups of coffee, thousands of nibbled fingernails, many skipped meals and missed convivial chats with friends later, this was the result? I should feel elated, or at the very least content, shouldn't I? The story that I had wanted to write for two years was now committed to paper, well it was filed in my Docs. Perhaps not as epic sounding but certainly easier, thank you Spellcheck.
I had not expected the feeling of panic which was beginning to roil around my stomach, however. Surely it was a good thing, a job well done, a mountain climbed, a river crossed, and as many other pieces of hyperbole as I could thrust into the mix. No need for anxiety and as it was way too early for a drink there was every need to calm down.
Contrary to appearances I am normally a very upbeat kinda gal, I don't see my glass as being half empty or half full, I simply see that it's almost time for another drink. A realist to the nth degree, problem-solving was my raison d'etre. I started work at fifteen and a half with an Electronic company and my first job was realigning the gyroscopic gunsights that had been taken out of Spitfires. Why I was doing that in the Sixties is anyone's guess. I was ecstatic when I found out I had to sign the Secrets Act, 007 watch out, 004ft10 (147.32 cm) was right behind you. The news that the Tea Lady also had to sign it cast a bit of a pall over my excitement though.
At that time I was the only girl in a department full of men and was paid a lot less than they were. I was elated when I finally achieved equality in the workplace. Being a lone female in a world of males continued throughout the rest of my working life, I was more at home with a soldering iron than a rolling pin. Suffice to say that I am a very down to earth person, not given to fits of the vapors or flights of fancy. Or so I thought, read on.
I have enjoyed reading for as long as I can remember but this was the first time I had written anything. Now it was finished and there was definitely life after fiction, I could relax in the evening instead of frantically trying to write a few more pages before a thought was lost. My many hobbies had been neglected so my days would be filled too.
I only had to glance out the window to find a whole heap of garden-related jobs that might well take the rest of the Summer to complete. How was it that when I was waiting to see if my Mock Orange plant was going to produce even one flower time stood still? But when I turned my back for a few weeks goodness knows what wildlife might be strolling around the jungle that was now my back garden.
I was pleased to note my breathing had calmed down again. It silly to get into such a state over a having finished writing a story, there were more things to be upset about. The silent assassin that was holding our world in thrall for one. I had been self-isolating since the start of the pandemic and I didn't plan to leave my house anytime soon.
It wasn't too onerous being on my own although as an insomniac there were many long hours to fill. It was when I could no longer go out to auctions or Antique centres that my thoughts had turned to the story I had started to write many months before. It took quite a while to find the old notebook I had started to write in and even longer to decipher what I had scribbled down. Suddenly it had become the sole focus of my days and nights from that point on.
It began with a dream, well a nightmare. I regularly woke up after only two hours of sleep deeply disturbed, usually sobbing. I can only assume my light sleep pattern didn't give my tired brain the opportunity to file away the day's experiences neatly. The effect of being so tired resulted in stress and anxiety and really disturbing dreams. Like most of us, for a nano-second when I first woke the dream was very real. Then it was gone, whatever trauma I had lived through in my nightmare was forgotten, I wiped away my tears and started another long day.
This time was different though. I grabbed notebook and pen and franticly scribbled down these words:
“Why am I in a tin?”
“You're not in a tin you're in a cubicle”
“I told you to take me to
a track that leads to
a hot dirty beach and
you've put me in a tin”
“I had to bring you here,
you're a badly torn girl and
you need to be stitched.
not good to get sand in your tin”
“Aha, so I am in a tin,
I knew it”
Just like that, total brain free fall! Never before, or since, have I been able to recall a dream so vividly. These two entities, somehow I knew they had never been human, left me with these tantalising words meaning what exactly? I tried to dismiss the dream as the nonsense it obviously was, garbled words making no real sense. I tried, but I felt there was such pathos and longing there, I wanted the hot dirty beach too.
I had begun to weave a story around those entities, not an easy task, which was probably why I abandoned it after a few weeks. Then I became isolated and allowed myself free reign, I let the entities out, gave them their hot dirty beach and watched the result spill out of my keyboard. I think that anyone who writes will understand what I mean when I say “Sometimes an idea suddenly appears and the compulsion is so strong to run with it that it almost seems to write itself”
So here I am, story written, deed done, long days empty again. I should get out into the garden with a net and a big stick and I have my hobbies of course. But there are only so many macramé hanging baskets one can make and I have filled every wall with String and Pin pictures. You know, I think I might have a wee nap, maybe lightning can strike twice.