It’s been a terrible couple of years. For a variety of reasons — workplace bullying, depression, and family tragedies being amongst those you know about — my writing output since Magrit saw publication in 2016 has dropped to zero, and that only because it’s impossible to write negative numbers of words. I haven’t sold anything in something like two years, haven’t seen myself in print since I don’t know when, and earlier this year decided that I was no longer going to consider myself a writer. That course had run itself. I was toasted.

Since Blake’s death, I’ve been feeling several layers of pain. One of them is a sense of personal hopelessness. Everything I wanted my time in Karratha to be about has fallen into a heap. All I have become is a part-time teacher, a job I had sworn I was never going to fall back on, and not even a full one at that. I’d reconciled myself to it. When full-time positions at the school were advertised recently I applied, and did so hopefully. If things go my way, I’ll get a full-time contract. Next year, I’ll be a full-time English teacher. But in every way that matters, I feel like a failure, and the self-reflection caused by Blake’s death has highlighted that feeling to an intensely painful degree. My hopelessness, my inner futility, threatens to drag me into dark places I never want to live in again.

I can’t go on like that. I turn 49 in two weeks. I can’t be this person when I turn 50. Something has to change.

I’ve gone back to the writing group I let fall away some months ago. They’re doing Nanowrimo this year, so I’ve signed on as well. I won’t manage 50,000 words. I won’t even come close.

I’m aiming for 10,000. That’s roughly 500 words a day between here and the first week of December. I’m not looking at old projects. That’s too painful right now. Too many false starts, too many lost words, bungled opportunities.

I’ve started something new. It’s called The Nest. I have no idea what it’s about, or where it’s going to go.

Today, my first day, I wrote 506 words. They’re the first words I’ve written pretty much all year.

Here’s hoping.


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