Yesterday I found a collaged
I was sitting in my little office in my armchair as Finley toiled at his darn GCSE’s, my presence there necessary to stop his head wandering off on flights of fantasy, his curly head bent over an exam full of scientific equations he could barely make head nor tail of, when suddenly I was crying. Little blobs of water rolling quietly down my face. And Finn turned to me and took the
He read and he smiled and then he looked at me and spoke the words caught up in my throat.
“Where did you go, Mum? This is you! This is full of fun and muddled up inspiration. It’s how
What happened indeed? I wiped my silly face and told him I would have to get back to him with an answer on that because there was chemistry to worry about and he said, OK, but you know you can always go back don’t you? You are only stuck because you insist on believing you are stuck.
Blooming heck. Out the mouths of a bearded baby (he is refusing to shave until isolation is over, so I will probably be able to plait his chin soon!). Then he turned his mind back to science and I sat and read all the words I had written in the tiniest hand between images of beautiful rooms and Italian weddings, recipes for chocolate cakes and articles torn from magazines. And he was right, there I was in every word. In the sentences I pieced together from magazine print, the poems I wrote on the train and the riot of pattern and colour and joy and hope I had glued on to every page.
I was there in the quotes I had copied down from Sex and The City and Shakespeare. In the women I had clearly wanted to be at the time. In the images of
I was there, but I have not been here. Not for a while anyway.
Last Friday, a reader shouted at me. She shouted, in fact all over the internet, and ended her rant by telling me that she stopped reading
But while her accusation of misery was misplaced and wholly fails to recognise that as a writer I have only ever wanted to say you are not alone, while she has no right at all to expect me to present my life as it ISN’T, and fails to understand that the longevity of
It stands to reason that I am not who I was seventeen years ago. That my dreams are more complex than they were, and that the slings and arrows of some of the things I have endured have left bruises on my soul. Of course they have. But I have always, always tried to still be here, even when my heart wasn’t in it because my truth was ugly and didn’t align with the contented vibe I would so much have preferred to share with you. I have been here anyway, and so have many of you.
Of course I have lost people.Women who privately berated me for not being of service to them individually. Women who refuse to read the small print and demand financial privilege or the kind of attention I simply don’t have time for. Women who come to believe that
I could not have avoided the misery the lady accused me of. And not sharing it would have meant constructing a
My gorgeous boy said turn up every day. Turn up even when you have got nothing to say. Show them all the cakes! Show them the house! Forget who’s reading and do it for me: a
So I will. If isolation has taught me anything it is that life is short and we have to please ourselves. That there is so much that surplus in so many areas of our lives, and now is the moment to pinpoint what feeds us and stuff our lives so full of it, there is simply no room for that we clearly do not need.
What liberation there is in letting the tears flow. Thank-you then shouty lady. Thank you seventeen year old
Now tell me, what could be lovelier than a journal designed to hold our prettiest thoughts?
Journaling is one of the mainstays of life the Brocantehome way and I have long believed that a cloth-covered book is quite the most quietly elegant of deeply personal possessions.This one then fits the bill: and not just because it is quite the prettiest shade of pink...