Postcard from the Island of One

January 4, 2007 at 2:07 am (Uncategorized)

There’s something very odd about being alone day in, day out. There are whole days that go by when I don’t talk to another soul until Llew gets home, and by that stage, sometimes I’m hunched over my work in such an intense hypnosis it’s all I can do to even acknowledge his existence. Which, it occurs to me now, can’t be good. This happened a lot toward the end of the thesis. I was half-crazy with it by then, and so deeply immersed in what I was doing I actually feared burning the apartment block down by forgetting the gas was on. And it happened the other day. I had an awesomely productive afternoon on one of my manuscripts – over 4,500 words in one sitting that was, well, yes, manic – and when the key turned in the front door, I didn’t even hear it. I think I could have gone on wildly writing all night without even a toilet break. It gets like that sometimes.

So sure, it’s productive, but it’s so isolated as well. Most of the freelance writing I have done, I have done from the comfort of my own home, which is great. But when I was freelancing for WHO magazine, I was in the office, and I do miss the companionship and constant hilarity of being with the people I worked with. We’re still in touch, but it’s not really the same as just that day to day shootin’ the shit that comes of being part of some kind of professional community. There’s no one to bounce off, no one to make little snide asides to, no one to rage against, or unite over, or celebrate…there’s just me, tapping away with the strange ferocity of a court stenographer on the Charlie.

I think what I’d like out of 2007, then, aside from at least one completed manuscript and perhaps someone interested in reading it who isn’t a relative or friend (although you guys are awesome, thank you), is to become part of some kind of community of writers. Or some kind of broader creative community. Because at the moment I feel a little shipwrecked, and yes I do know what that’s like, because we and a boatload of our friends were shipwrecked in Myanmar (Burma) on New Year’s Day 2004. So there.

I’m a social being. I like people. I miss my old office mate at UNSW, Timothy, who is currently wowin’ and confoundin’ ’em at West Chester University in the States. I don’t know how we managed it, really, but the harder we laughed, the better we worked. It was a kind of similar situation at WHO, which had one of the highest concentrations of office comedians I’ve ever seen. Laughing on your own just isn’t that amusing. It’s madness.

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