I have worked sixteen hour days for the past fortnight. Minimum. I have eaten at my desk (when I’ve remembered to) and fallen asleep over the keyboard (yes, when I woke up my nose was indented with the letter B and the screen was flashing ominously). One night I even dreamed I got through a whole shedload of stuff and woke feeling a profound sense of satisfaction – until I realised, with sinking heart, that it had all been emailed and filed in the land of sleep.
And what do I have to show for all this effort? Not a whole lot, truth be told. A few ‘maybes’; a couple of ‘possiblys’; quite a lot more ‘no thank yous’ but mainly... silence.
Never mind. You carry on, right? You don’t give up. And all the time you’re putting on a brave face, smiling and laughing and pretending everything is hunky-dory. But by heck sometimes it’s hard to keep one’s spirits up. And, I’ll be honest, I think I may be running out of steam. Which is why I can’t wait for Friday.
Come Friday I am waving my credit card at the train station and taking myself up to London. My bestest friend Jane (she of chicken-eating spider fame) is off to Southwold for her own version of escape. ‘Do you want to come?’ she said, a while back. ‘I’d love to,’ I said. ‘But, could I borrow your flat instead?’ ‘Of course you can,’ she said. The way she does.
Cos, see, I had people I needed to meet in London in May. But, the way these things go, the best-laid plans go astray and the right people will be in the wrong places. You have to laugh, right?
Still. I shall go nonetheless. I am hoping to meet up with my old editor from HarperCollins and I'm going to be reviewing some luscious treatments. So I get to experience the Kundalini massage at Gielly Green which uses products from the divine ila-spa range. And I also get to meet Ben Barnett who comes highly recommended by Nicola Hughes. Ben does what he calls ‘three dimensional bodywork’ using a hydrotherm massage bed. As he works on you he also takes you on a guided visualisation. ‘Think of two words that capture how you want to feel,’ he said in his email. Eh what? ‘You know, energised, peaceful, positive, that kind of thing...’
Um. How do I want to feel? In two words. Just two words? That stopped me in my tracks.
And the negatives flooded in. It’s easy to know what I don’t want. I’m fed up of feeling tired, overstretched, underappreciated, washed up, old, broke, misunderstood, sad, angry, frustrated, bored. Okay so that's a bit melodramatic but I really would like to stop feeling like I’m banging my head against the proverbial brick wall again and again and again. I'd love not to feel the need to pander to delicate egos all the time. I’m sick of walking on eggshells. I’m fed up to the back teeth of people making promises they have no intention of keeping. And I am really really really tired of being cold.
But that’s no good for Ben, is it? Yet the positives just sounded too floaty, too wishy washy. Energized – yeah great, but for what? Serene? I’m not a freaking lake.
What did you use? I asked Nicola. ‘Proud and peaceful,’ she snapped back instantly. Nicola is always so certain, so sure. Peaceful? Nah, I’m bored of peaceful. Proud? Nah, I don’t really have any self-esteem issues that would warrant that.
So… what then? Rich? Sounds greedy. I don’t need rich anyhow, just solvent would be nice. But that makes me sound like glue. Abundant? Vegetation springs to mind.
And then a whole pile of music crashed through my head. Images from the third book in my series of novels accompanied them. Wide open roads. Deserts. An open-top car with music blaring out.
There you go, said my subconscious. There you go. Two words for you, my lovely. Wild and Free. Wild and Free.