It’s been a long year and a bit.
After the emotional battering and non-stop workplace bullying I experienced in my last couple of years at The Job That Soured, I was without mojo. All my mojoes had gone. No mojoes for me. Then we moved Very Far Away ™, and settled into A Very New Way of Life ™…
And there was a new industry to work in…… and a new role within the family…… and, well, a whole bunch of various things and thangs and otherthangs…… and long story short, my writing career took a Titanic pill and sank without trace.
Last year I completed a novel, sent it to the publisher who had been nagging me for it, and had it bounced back to me in less than a fortnight. At which point I pretty much quietly packed away my pens to no public outcry or notice whatsoever, and that was all, folks.
But it’s officially up-to-a-bit later, now. I’m six months into a regular teaching gig, and while I’m new in the role, I’m also experienced in an awful lot of the skills required to fill it, so I’ve adjusted. For the most part. And we’ve settled into life here in What Used to Be Far Away But Now Feels Like We’re Here and You’re All Far Away rather nicely. For the most part. And something quite seismic occurred to me while we were traipsing around Perth and Fremantle on our recent trip back for the school holiday– my first since we’ve come up here.
Namely: I don’t miss it.
I mean, okay: I miss the museum, and I wish we had some decent bookshops, and it was lovely to catch up with some friends, and of course I miss my adult kids and the grandkids. But my previous life?
Not. One. Bit.
Not the job, not the industry, not the majority of people, definitely not fandom, most assuredly not the 75% of people you have to be in contact with if you live in a big city and happen to work in an industry like the arts industry in that city. Not the noise. Not the stress. Not the, well, not pretty much anything.
And with that realisation, a wall broke somewhere inside of me.
As I’m typing this, Luscious is sitting next to me on her computer, typing. She’s finishing a biopoem. It’s just a little Sunday night writing exercise we decided to have ourselves, tonight. It’s the first of what will be ongoing sessions. Because we both came to the thought that, whatever happens from here on in, we want to write. We’re writers. We may be writers doing other things, but without writing, without being writers, we’re not really us.
There’s a writing group here. We’re going to attend. There’s space, and time, here. We’re going to use it.
Forget what has come before: my so-called career, that place within the industry– whatever small part of it I may have occupied– that’s over. I have no desire to go back to what was slowly beginning to rot and spoil. I’m just going to write what I want to. With freedom. The old game, the one I tried to play and failed, is over. I’m starting again, from a blank slate. Much like the death of my father, the past can remain there.
So, as a way of saying hello to the future, here are the biopoems I wrote tonight. The game was to write one for ourself, and one for a fictional character or historical figure. And for those who don’t know what a biopoem is, here are the rules. (Well, we consider ’em moir loik goidloines…)
Heavier than he imagines, greyer than he believes, more broken than he can fix.
Husband of Luscious.
Who desired independence, self-determination, to live longer than his flesh.
Owner of grief, elation, victorious rage.
Who shrank from forgetting, being called to the account of others, being forgotten.
Left words throughout the world, thoughts within hearts, questions within minds.
Dreamed of self-sufficiency, touching the artefacts of history, accepting applause at the summit of his mountain.
Began in the snow, rose in the sand, finished in red dust.
Oppressed, defiant, razor-focussed.
Daughter of France, mother of guerrillas.
For liberty, equality, fraternity, and lost causes.
Raged, wept, stood proud and unbowed.
Saw the decimation of the Girondin, the exultation of Marat, the metal bonds of Thermidor.
Stained bathwater red.
To raise women, to free the throats of France, to save the hundred thousand.
From the abbeys of Caen to the guillotine’s lunette.
So there you go.