Day 255 of #ayearofwriting and I am ten days away from having written every day for a year. Back in 2017, I committed to #100daysofwriting. That means when I hit Day 265 I have been writing non-stop for 365 days. It’s been a hard month, in terms of personal loss; my Dad died with no warning, no illness. He simply stopped and my family have to be grateful for that but we are all sad at the realisation that he is no longer there; I can not simply reach out and touch him. It is a hole that we are all trying to throw life lines across to each other, in a bid to pull ourselves closer. Many writers deal with bereavement, Susan Wicks, Blake Morrison to name two that come to mind but reading it is not living it, empathy and sympathy do not prepare you for the reality of loss. I have been working to carry on writing and a story that seemed to be alright in my eyes, is now hurting me to write because of the content. The story deals with death, bereavement, disability and I started writing it before my Dad’s death; now that story is painful to write. Too close to the reality of me. I know I have to write it but I am avoiding it, tinkering at the edges, throwing my own lifelines into the hole. In a few weeks I will start on the preliminary work for my next novel, I need a big landscape now and though short stories have big ideas, they do not always have big research. To muddy the water further I have just started a new job, teaching English, and though I have a passion for reading I find that I am in a minority when facing students. This is nothing new, students have always had a problem with reading, maybe it is western privilege or more than likely, life is your’s for the taking when you’re a teenager. You are immortal and reading is for mortals. I remember my own time at University and I veered from introspective, why me, oh why me tosh to trying to find a place to drink that would take an NUS card. Being broke was fashionable back then as a student. Being in debt will never be a fashion. No matter how much this government states it will do you good in the long run.
I have always worked hard, throwing myself into a succession of jobs. By the age of 21 I had gone through so many jobs that I once joked that I’d had 25 by that age; the reality was more startling, I had around 29 jobs by then (from the age of 13) and most of them were dead end careers, ways of finding material to write about and paying the bills. I once had three jobs in five days, quit one and was fired from the other two. I’d like to say it was for being cool, being immortal, but the reality was more mundane. I was late. I answered back. Even by then I knew I wasn’t your typical keep your head down kid. I have asked too many questions. I have read too much. This is not a post about privilege. I was never privileged. I worked. I was told I was driven. I still think I am lazy. We all have our crosses. Even now I am sat here typing and wondering, what the hell are you going on about? Isn’t this just another form of procrastination to avoid writing the story? Hell, yes! The story sits in another open window waiting for me, calling me to sit down and type it, to tell it and then it may allow me to start on the novel. Writing is not easy and this is whining. Writing is even harder when you know that you enjoy reading but you are in a small minority. So, what is next, Andrew Oldham? Where do you go with your grief, your life and your words? I will keep you posted on that one.