It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?
I’m sorry we’ve been gone so long. We fell out of love with blogging, and raising tiny humans was all-encompassing, and and and…
But I don’t think either of us ever fell out of love with writing. And we know many of you miss the space that this blog creates.
So the plan is…there is no plan. No schedule. Just posts as and when we receive them, and as and when we write them. So write if you like, send it in, same rules apply as ever. Let’s see if we can get this place up and running again, eh?
And to kick off…some drivel.
“Ellie. We’re going to miss the train. Get up. NOW”
Silence. My two-year-old remained sitting, cross legged, on the floor of the Liverpool Street Station concourse, in evening rush hour.
I was holding her rucksack, her drink, my handbag and a bundle of her paintings that she’d done on A3 like some sort of oil painting prodigy. I was seven months pregnant. I had fractured my foot. The train to get us home was leaving in four minutes.
And Ellie didn’t move.
I had tried asking, negotiating, ordering, in that order. I was tired, I was in pain, and I couldn’t pick her up. People were rushing to their trains, stepping over her. There were tuts. I tried not to cry, but I did, a bit.
A big, burly man in a hi-vis jacket who often gets our train, who sits nearby and always looked annoyed, crouched down, holding out his fists. ”Ellie. Which hand has the coin?” Curious, she pointed. ”You want the coin? Come with me onto the train.”
Up she got like a lamb, holding his hand all the way down the platform and into our carriage. I followed, half bemused, half pathetically grateful.
“Just sit there. I can look after her. It’s fine. Read your book” , he said.
They played games, they made up stories, she didn’t look at me once all journey. I felt the tension lifting for the first time in weeks.
At our stop, I tried to say thank you. ”It’s nothing”, he said. ”Remember, people want to help. Even the ones you don’t expect”.
That’s the thing about writing. If you stop doing it, the words don’t stop coming, but they get buried. Buried under layers of skin and gristle and bone. They’re in there, deep down, you know they are. And you sit with a shovel, hald-arsedly making marks in the ground because you can’t face the proper, on-your-knees, exhausting work you know it will be to get those damn words out. And you don’t want to think about what the words might say, either.
But you also know that if you don’t do it, you’ll only ever know half of what you could know about yourself.
And you weigh that up, you oscillate. I want to write, but it’s hard work, but I need to write, but I can’t be bothered, I don’t have the time, you have the time to watch four seasons of Orange Is The New Black on the trot but you don’t have time to do the thing you think is most important to you?
Oh. Well. Fuck’s sake.
And so, resentfully, you start the hard work. You dig. The words are stuck under rock. You chip and you chip and you chuck down your shovel in a massive piss and you sheepishly pick it up again. They won’t come. But you keep going. Because you want to say what you’ve got to say, everyone has something in them, words are what’s in you. And slowly, slowly, you pull out one word, a phrase, a sentence, you pin a thought down before it floats away.
And eventually you strike through, you hit a vein, they come tumbling out, and they keep coming, unstoppable, like you never stopped.