I’m here because I need to write, but both of the novels I’m working on have toxic fumes coming out of them.
I only started the second novel because the first one — the one I’ve been “working on” for three years now — was doing the toxic fume thing and I needed another writing outlet and now look at what’s happened! Goddammit! Infectious novel-rot. “Give it up,” says my brain. “Give up this writing dream until you’re 45 and you have something to say and the skill to say it.”
My brain and I are not always the best team. But here I am. And here’s a life update, courtesy of my brain, soothed by tea and the breeze coming through the window on my left and the peace lily on the desk on front of me. That’s a good place to start.
1. Luc and I are living in a new flat and we’ve been filling it with plants, because plants are happy-making and alive and they’re not technically pets, so they don’t violate the terms of our tenancy. That doesn’t mean I won’t be upset if (when) one of them dies. I will, in fact, be very upset. So far, in addition to the tiny dragon tree I bought at Ikea two years ago (named “Hogarth” after the street we were living in then), we have:
- A big dragon tree with two smaller dragon trees in the same pot. (Currently unnamed. Taking suggestions.)
- Two peace lilies. (Named Simon Pegg and Angel, both names related to the movie “Hot Fuzz”, which I finally got around to watching at the insistence of our recent guests and which brought the existence of peace lilies to my attention.)
- Two ferns. (Currently unnamed, though I have a few ideas I’m toying with…)
- A ragged little buxus tree. (Named Renly Baratheon. He was our first purchase for the balcony. I might have doomed him by naming him after a dead king. Despite repotting him, he’s looking a bit yellow.)
- A cupressus macrocarpa. (Named Fartknocker. I asked Luc to name this one. He doesn’t take the naming of plants seriously enough, in my opinion.)
- Two little lavender bushes. (Named Trinity and Serenity. These were gifts from the aforementioned guests, who helped with the names — twin names, bringing to mind two of my favourite bits of pop culture: The Matrix and Firefly.)
The new flat is conveniently located near to shops and the underground and it has a spare room that I occupy as an office when it’s not inhabited by guests… Guests!
2. We had guests! Guests with luggage! Guests all the way from South Africa! Two of our oldest friends came to stay for nine days this month and it was fantastic. It was hot and sticky in London for almost the entire duration of their visit, but that didn’t stop us from doing loads of touristy things (and not-so-touristy things). Some things I experienced for the first time and felt like a tourist again myself: the London Eye, the London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds, etc. I was pleasantly surprised at how much guiding I was able to do. I’m certainly not the greatest guide, but I’ll confidently state that I can do a better job of showing people around London than I could ever do in Cape Town, and that’s something. I sort of know how all the important bits link together and I’m familiar with enough cool things to fill up at least two weeks for London newbies.
We also had another guest at our flat, just briefly, before she headed back to Berlin. We went for a picnic in my favourite London park. There was cheese. It was a good day! I had last seen her in Cape Town. It’s so weird and so nice seeing old friends in new contexts.
3. I joined this feminist meetup group in January and have been to a quite a few cool events with them since then. An exhibition, a debate, a lecture, a body-shaming protest/ body-positive celebration… I’ve slacked off a bit lately because of the heat and other engagements, but I’m so grateful for meetup. And for feminists. It’s difficult to build a social life from scratch, especially in a place like London, and it’s great that technology can help to bring likeminded people together.
4. I’m sort of working backwards. Which brings me to… our wedding! After our rushed coffee-shop marriage in 2014, we decided to have a belated wedding celebration on the week of our first anniversary, because these sorts of opportunities for merriment don’t come around all that often. It was a beautiful, colourful, special day of heightened emotion and over-consumption. (I mainly over-consumed the iced tea.) The sun was out, we had friends and family there, and we did it our way. It was, I think, a bullshit-free wedding, and I will always remember it with great love and fondness.
5. Antidepressants. They might seem like a downer to mention at the end of such a merry list, but they’re ANTI-depressants, sooo… yeah. I’ve been on them since the end of last year and I think they’ve made a big difference. Can you tell? As evidenced by some of my blue-tinged/-soaked blog posts last year, the sads kept coming back, no matter what I did, and I was finding it all a bit debilitating, so my doctor (I call her mine because I ask for her specifically these days and begrudge having to see anyone else) recommended the meds. I never wanted to join the ranks of the medicated, but fuck it. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do, and I don’t regret it. Things are way better now (apart from my energy levels and, relatedly, my writing, but I’ll save all that for a whingey blog post some time in the future when I’m feeling whingey).
I could write much more about this year so far, buuuut… maybe I should have another go at one of those novels. Urgh. “CACKING ICKRICK!”, as Berro would say. It’s an inside joke. I mean, it’s a joke that only I’m in on. Actually it’s not a joke. Man, writing is a lonely business.