One of my biggest aspirations in life is to write a book. It’s something I’ve started, and I’ve even got as far as 10,000 words and then I got stuck into editing. I love editing, but it’s not much use if you haven’t actually finished the novel…
This week I read a book I wish I’d written. I enjoyed the craft of it, but I wish I had written this particular book because I could identify with the character. At moments it felt like she was speaking my own heart about loss, divorcing and moving on. To be able to write the deep feelings of someone else’s heart is a skill indeed, and one that I aspire to. It was a hard read at times, but I felt I had found a friend, a kindred spirit.
Below, I have taken the plunge and decided to share a small piece of my own writing with you. I’d love to know what you think – you don’t have to be kind!
A Hundred Pieces of Me talks about keeping simply one hundred items post divorce that have meaning. They had to be special in some way in order to be kept. It reminded me of my one hundred things to do this year because it provided Gina, the main character, with a focus and a way to keep going. It got me thinking – if I could only keep one hundred things, what would they be? Here are a few..
My bureau was a surprise gift from my parents for my nineteenth birthday. It’s perfectly me. The mix of history, writing and intrigue are there. I wonder who has written at it in the past? In the bottom drawer when we brought it home from auction were letters, now sadly mislaid, but I love that I am sitting to write where others have lovingly crafted before me.
The sea calms and soothes me. I bought this picture from these artists – Ben and Hannah Dunnett – in the midst of separation, when the future was unknown and felt much like the boat tossed on the waves. It captured some of the Bible verses I most related to, and combined words with art.
One of my brothers made this for me as a present at school and it houses my beloved earring collection. It’s battered, well used and well travelled. I’ve considered painting it over the years, and maybe one day I will – but I love that it was made for me, that makes it incredibly precious.
These milk bottles come from a holiday in Weymouth. They are delicate, fun and something that I wanted to decorate my home with after divorce proceedings had begun. I love blue, and I could see how I could adorn them to my tastes. They remind me of my holiday with great friends, and starting to make ‘our’ flat become ‘mine’.
What would your one hundred pieces of you be?
My aspiration – a prologue, or maybe Chapter 1…
The first time I felt that I could say anything about what had happened, I leapt out of bed as quickly as possible and sat at my desk. I thought it would be the same; the pen would be in my hand, the crisp paper would wait forever until I put my head down and cried for the thousandth time.
And it was the same. The paper crinkled as my tears smashed down onto it. I don’t bother moving the paper; it looks like it was designed that way now. There is no ink to smudge, it’s still bottled in the cartridge.
The pen looks smug – its secrets locked up inside. I pick it up and take off the lid. The nib glistens because I haven’t had chance to use it yet. I press down on the paper and draw a line down. It makes a blueish scrape. I squeeze it harder, my thumb and forefinger gripping tightly and turning my knuckles white. Blue liquid flows out onto the pen in a perfectly straight line.
The ink flows smoothly now, drawing out my words.
I hate you. I scratch through it.
I love you.
Come back. Please. I’ll do anything.
Without looking at what I’ve written, I crumple it up and drop the creamy paper into the bin at my feet. I won’t send it.
Even if I wanted to I couldn’t because I don’t know where I could send it.
I hear more stifled sobs from the other side of the wall where my father is crying. Since it happened he hasn’t stopped crying. I stab the nib of the pen into the paper, leaving a blue indent but it doesn’t tear so I stab at the mark until the ink seeps through onto the sheets below. I carry on until the page is torn and covered with blue stains and the perfect whiteness is destroyed. Then, on the last one, I press the pen so hard against my third finger that the nib snaps. I stare at the pen: it’s ruined.
I want to scream but the house is almost silent, so I pick the pen up and throw it with all my strength at the wall, where it leaves no mark and drops softly onto the carpet. I lay my arms on the paper and my head on my arms and cry even though I didn’t think I had any tears left. The ink on the paper runs silently.