It’s my birthday! Today I am 28 years old, which sounds like a REALLY BIG NUMBER, internet. Like, way bigger than last year. There is no longer any way to avoid that I’m in my LATE twenties, which really isn’t something I expected to happen to me. I’m now older than the optimum age at which to die tragically, which feels like a bit of a shame. I didn’t INTEND to become a game-changing musician and then kill myself, but it was nice to know I had the option.
I am writing this from my desk, which is in the same building I was born in. For a week or so my name was Geraldine (I assume because the nurses here REALLY DIDN’T LIKE ME), but despite this — and even though I had conjunctivitis and a lazy eye and cost twice what I should have — I somehow managed to acquire both a very nice family and a better name. (One day, internet, I will tell you the story about how my parents got a refund on me, because it is my FAVOURITE STORY, and my mum hates it. One of these may influence the other.)
And THEN, SOMEHOW, TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS PASSED.
That is RIDICULOUS.
Usually on my birthday I write myself a letter (generally consisting mostly of hilariously optimistic creative goals, and a lot of promising to eat less KFC), but I’m not really in the mood to do that today. This year has been, to be honest, A BIT SHIT. A lot of it has been great, too, don’t get me wrong. I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot (and I drank a lot). Overall 27 is in the plus column, but letting go of Sparks was the hardest thing I’d ever done — right up until I started trying to write After, which leaves that experience for DUST.
I have been possessed of many EMOTIONS this year, not to mention riddled with insecurities, which I have thoughtfully placed on the internet for your consumption. (You’re welcome.) This has been hard for me (the emotions, not the over-share. I always over-share. Sometimes people tell me I’m brave for writing what I do here, which I always find somewhat concerning, since we are just CHATTING), as usually I am made of stone. Prickly stone. I don’t REGRET becoming a real boy… but it has yet to provide me any concrete benefits. Nevertheless, I remain optimistic. I expect one day to be rewarded with rainbows and unicorns and chardonnay falling from heaven, or whatever. Or by finishing a novel I can be proud of, which would actually be both nicer and less messy than a unicorn.
Most of what I learned this year was about letting go — I can’t control everything, as hard as I am sometimes prone to trying. Sometimes, writing just isn’t going to happen on my timetable. Sometimes I have to let ideas sit and brew. And most of the time, I have to live my life. It’s something I forget to do on occasion — I get so wrapped up in my writing, and in my GOALS and OBJECTIVES and TO-DO LISTS, that I forget to have any fun. I forget to go places and experience things, and guys, you cannot write of things if you have no frame of reference for them. Also, real things are the best things.
This is my reasoning for spending most of the last few months doing a lot of nothing much. But it has been FUN nothing much.
Most of what I screwed up with Sparks was in the emotions. The emotional drive was wrong, and I pulled back from writing FEELINGS because I don’t happen to like feelings very much myself. (Well, no, I LOVE feelings. I just like them to be felt by other people.) As may be fairly obvious, this doesn’t make a great novel. We read to feel. I should write to feel. I need to feel what I write.
Although After is currently ruining my life, at least it is ruining it because I want it to be BETTER. I want to FEEL IT. I want my characters to feel it. And that means I have to go to some places that I find VERY UNCOMFORTABLE, and then I have to stay there and FERRET ABOUT, mining out all those sticky, icky bits I tend to avoid in real life. I’m finding this harder than I can tell you, internet. But I know that it’s making me a better writer — and more than that, it’s making me a better PERSON.
Which is a long way of saying, MAN, YOU GUYS, sorry I’ve been such a whiner! Everyone I know has had to deal with a lot of my shit this year, and I really do appreciate it. One day it is all going to PAY OFF, and when I am super famous and awesome (ha HA HA) I will buy all of you a YACHT.
(To share. Not one each. Stop being so greedy.)