Curiously, a day or two post-deadline and I am ansty, restless, unable to relax. The work involved in completing my degree represented a marathon, not a sprint. Months spent in deep, deep editing (like deep sea diving but not as dark) and then a thesis in which I interpreted, analysed and second-guessed everything I knew about writing and publishing. Imaginations of faceless external examiners considering my words. ‘Hello there.’ The result? Handed in and now bereft! Unsure what to do with myself, I am stranded mid-half term with one child revising (or not) and the other presently skidding across a slip’n’slide in the garden, hastened by hosepipe water and some fairy liquid. Oh the joys of summer. I think a lot about my book and it feels like a friend I’ve neglected; one I need to get back to, but not yet. It’s like we’ve had a silly falling out and now we are licking our wounds. Meanwhile other, new books spring fresh up in my mind and I think about writing something else. Infidelity! I shall be leaving my first novel for my second and that seems premature; a flirtation. My first one is not even finished. This is what professional writers do – write one, sell one, write one, sell one.
So I go back to the small things, reading, cooking, laundry, podcasts and googling. I’ve started running again after years off. I thought my body had stopped cooperating but, turns out it will. It’s as freeing as ever, the rhythm of it and the unmistakable endorphin-hit about an hour after. Then the aching legs and tired muscles. Summer running is one of my happiest pursuits. Due to unforeseen circumstances alluded to in my previous post (apologies for my opaqueness) I find myself accompanied by my husband each day and so we potter about, slightly freaked out by the proximity we share after so much absence in recent times. I’ve called on good friends to help steady our boat and so there have been nights out and evenings in, huddled at the table drinking wine and pondering whether this mid-life we find ourselves in is some sort of twisted trick. The three-generation juggle of ourselves, teens and older parents. We escape with boxsets – Billions and Bloodline – and promise ourselves only to watch one episode at a time. It’s like TV catnip.
The tractors near my house plough new furrows and I try to guess what crop will appear in a few short weeks. Courgettes? Coriander? Broccoli? Potatoes? It’s become the norm to be surrounded from May to September with farm-workers and night time tractors and irrigation tubes as wide as your thigh.
I figure I shall take the summer off, a self-congratulatory pause for educating myself further. If I graduate I shall have two degrees! Who’d have thought? And then by September, when the crops are harvested, I will go back and start in earnest in my efforts to become a published author.