I finished the first draft of Chutney on Friday. I hadn’t expected to but the last chapter had been written in my head so many times I knew exactly how it ended so just kept on writing until it was done. I know it needs a fair bit of editing down and I know where; it needs a little face lift and some structural augmentation here and there; but I can’t wait to get started. However, two weeks or so will now be for some short stories and then I will right back into it.
There is something immensely rewarding, even though this must be the sixth or seventh novel I have finished a draft of; the work of course only begins now. But that feeling of coming to an ending (even if you know it’s a long way from the final ending) is worth a glass of two of cheeky red, surely. And I did. I felt something change when the last scene was written even if it was imperceptible to the rest of the world.
We are all changed by the people we know in life; and sometimes the ones we don’t. People walk in and out of every day but some stick around; never leave, and some leave before they should. Some, like Georgey B from Russia, Runner Bean Billy and young Emma from the children’s home, even when they’re a fiction, start to come to life and each one of these characters has also taught me about life, just as Lydia did in While No One Was Watching. Georgey taught me about how to deal with grief; but also how to live when it seems there is nothing to live for; how to get up every day even when there seems no point. Billy taught me that in the simplest things we find life; and humour, but that we live between shades of colour, and how it can all change so suddenly with a mental illness. Emma taught me we are not what we see; that like the other characters that could be stereotypes to watchers, we are all different, and individual and we all want more than what we have; and we can change.
They all taught me that even when they thought something terrible was going to happen; they had friendship and that sometimes you have to look up.
I went to see Bette Midler at the O2 this weekend; a great way to celebrate reaching the end of the first draft. I wish there was a better way to say what I felt; still feel: WOW seems such a small word but the shape of the word shows the emotion of it. I have not felt like that in a long time; when I stood and watched and laughed and was moved all in the same breath. I listened to the ballads with my mouth falling silently open. This woman has charisma and what talent.
You might not have felt it and it might have been the smallest moment — but I felt something change. I felt something shift inside; I was moved. I was wowed. I was taken somewhere I haven’t been. That is the hope with stories; that we change when we read something. Does it matter if the people who change us are real or imagined? People we know personally, or people who can stand in a room and make us all change?
The feeling is the same, isn’t it?
Have a great Monday.
I will leave you with this. It’s a great way to start the week. I found this on YouTube.