As I emailed Sean Doyle, Lynk’s director, this morning, I’ve had my sulk and my tears and now I just have to get on with it. Because this is it, this is the road I’m on and have chosen to be on and am so glad and grateful to be on, so I just have to scrape myself up off the ground and keep crawling along. Can I just pause for a moment, though, and tell you that it’s really HARD? It’s so hard. Up until I began this process seriously (does my dreadful 1999 unreadable manuscript count? I’m not sure), my PhD thesis was undoubtedly the toughest challenge of my professional and intellectual life. Hands down. But this is worse in some ways, maybe because there is literally not one guarantee that it’ll all be okay in the end if I just work hard enough. The harsh truth is that it may not be, and everything I’ve got may not be enough. Ugh. Hideous, debilitating thoughts. But it does nothing to change my desire to write, my need to write, my will to write. That’s one of my constants, and so I’m still – even though I cried myself to sleep last night – just as committed. Perhaps I need to BE committed, but I’m totally committed nonetheless. It is the right thing for me, writing, and I know that, and I have no choice but to keep trying and doing my best. It is an end in itself; nothing anyone says will ever actually stop me from sitting down and writing because I’ve been doing it in one form or another my entire life and it’s as normal to me as opening my eyes. So as I said to Miriam today, they’ll never take me alive!
So. Yesterday Don Watson was the speaker at the Lowy Lunch, and wasn’t he a breath of fresh air? Funny, erudite, insightful, a master of understatement and the hilarious half-mumbled observation, I thoroughly enjoyed his talk on the American travels that form the basis of his laest book, American Journeys.
Like Watson, I am fascinated by America and its people and always have been. Like Watson, for me it feels almost like a crush, a love affair that just won’t quit. I am busting to live in the US for a time. In fact the only reason it hasn’t happened yet is because it’s not a priority for Llew without certain criteria being met first, and as you know, we ride together. It’s not all about me, after all, and as evinced by what must look like my utterly ridiculous dream-weaving pursuit of an untenable career as a fiction writer, and Llew’s unflagging, unstinting support of it, I’m pretty well catered for as it is. But my interest in America is abiding, and my affection for the place very deep. So I was the ideal audience member at Don Watson’s Lowy lecture; I was hanging on every word. I was so jealous. The map of his travels in the back of the book made me tight with wanderlust, and I can’t wait to lose myself in its pages at the very first available opportunity. For now, I’m going to sit here and start writing a new story, and to hell with giving up.