Posts Tagged ‘Knocking the ‘t’ off ‘can’t’’

If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh

‘Oceans of confidence’ was how a teacher once described me; a fond remembrance now that the description no longer holds water.

I used to blame the dropping sea levels on motherhood. I gave birth and everything became my fault. The scrawnyness of my first-born, the tantrums of my second, the opprobrium at preschool when our five-year-old brought to Show and Tell his drawing of Mount Doom and ten thousand attacking Orcs…

Getting stuck at traffic lights on our way to netball? My fault. The Balkans? Obviously my fault.

I began to write fiction as a way of fighting back, of reclaiming the sense of self that had been misplaced in a clutter of lost goggles, crappy nappies and broken hockey sticks.

If I could do one thing well, a scene, a chapter, a sparkling bit of dialogue, then the tide would turn, rushing in to fill that dry ocean bed with enough confidence to keep me going.

Each success produced a new high water mark, and finally, a king tide, bearing with it a publishing contract. Yet, each morning I still wake to desolate stretches of sand.

I live in a littoral zone of confidence, a rich and varying landscape of flooding hopes and ebbing fears. I pick my way through the flotsam and jetsam, using what I can and hoarding what I cannot, in the hope that one day it might turn out to be the button I need to press, the key I need to turn…

The hot sands have taught me there is only one way to call in the tides and fill the void.

It is simply this…

To write.

There is a tide in the affairs of women, which, taken at the flood, leads God knows where.’ Lord Byron