I love to write. Not to be read especially, which may seem counterintuitive, but to shape words into neatly formed sentences; to mould sentences into paragraphs and run paragraphs into pages. To chop and edit and move and manipulate. To capture the world in lines, dots and spaces with the potential to evoke memories and stir up emotions as readily as lived experiences.
I write so I may remember how it was that night when the lights hit the darkness of the river at St Paul’s, and it was too cold to sit outside but we did it anyway, huddled around mulled wine, watching our breath disappear into the air. To never forget our all-too-small kitchen – with its disproportionately large, blue fridge and its brightly patterned Turkish tablecloth – where I learned the virtues of lemon, salt and good olive oil. Or the sofa with the collapsed back, where we curled up like four door mice to watch episode after episode of Sex and the City.
There are moments I want to savour, feelings I want to revisit, unpack and replay, editing, tidying, romanticising.
That day when you stopped the tube to kiss me, even though at that point only our eyes had met. Holding the doors ajar, oblivious to the objectors, exchanging names through the glass as the train moved away. The night we only planned to drink one glass but ended up sharing a bottle, when all we ate were bar snacks because we couldn’t afford a meal, and we talked and talked until our voices hurt. The morning when I wrapped up warm and left the house before the sun had even crept over rooftops to run laps of the park, thinking how I was running both away from and back towards a life of new responsibilities.
My mind likes to write even the most everyday banalities into these orphan sentences, poised ready for the rest of the story to unravel.
In one of her short stories, Marina Keegan describes so perfectly the desire to reflect and capture the world in this way:
‘…this was the time when I found everything romantic. I granted the world a kind of strange generosity. Ideas convinced me and ordinary activities had an almost giddy newness.’
And again (although here for me substitute ‘semester’ for ‘London’):
‘…the semester had granted a profundity to the world that I could photograph or turn into a bad poem. Everything seemed worthy of retelling and I’d struggle to stop stories before I started.’
Recently, I have started wondering if I might migrate my writing tendencies into the realm of fiction. On the one hand this would allow me to utterly indulge my twin passions of writing and romanticising the world, and on the other, it would help me to navigate an issue that has been concerning me of late: the fact that in writing my own narrative, be it through opinion pieces, short essays or pseudo diary entries, I find myself crossing over into the narratives of my friends, family and lovers*, and those people don’t always want their stories to be told so publicly. As Nora Ephron wrote, ‘everything is copy’, and when the protagonists are identifiable, that copy becomes problematic.
I’m not sure if this blog is the correct place for this new foray into fiction, and it may be that I am quiet here for a while, but if you enjoy my writing and would be interested to read more, fact of fiction, do let me know.
There may be more, but for now, in true storybook style, I will just write:
*when writing, the idea of having ‘lovers’ seemed terribly romantic. Sadly, I don’t have any lovers. Happily I do have a fabulous husband.