As Dee's Jewish grandmother would say, Nobody ever said it was easy: they were right when they didn't say it!
What is this thing I'm suffering from? Writer's block? How can it be? How can I have writer's block when I barely consider myself a writer? A writer, self-evidently, is someone who writes. Me? I write sometimes.
Sometimes I manage to do the day (the endless, mindless tasks which must be done simply to make one day look like another; interspersed with the odd, unmissable moment of brilliance with Anna-mouse); sometimes I manage to get the child down; share some sort of coherent minutes with the Bim before he stumbles up to bed for another 4.30am wake-up; call my mother-who-is-in-chemotherapy; call a friend (very unlikely if I have got through to Esme); watch something mind-numbing on TV for long enough to induce a semblance of relaxation and then sometimes, just sometimes, make it up the stairs quietly enough not to wake husband or child, turn on the computer and write.
It's an exhausting business, not being a writer.
They say it's a process. I'm pissed off with the process. I want results. I want to know I can string more words together than the length of a post. I want to write a short story in two days, not two years. Above all, I want to snatch the gremlins from my person (they've recently been breeding and now a collection of ugly voices keeps a noisy, near-constant vigil on both shoulders), throw them at the wall and watch them die a slow and nasty death.
I resent that these creatures, these voices with impressive credentials, inhabit my world. I am angry with myself that they have such astonishing sway. Where do the negatives get in? At what point? What age? Do they come from just one source, one parent, or many such figures? Have I spent the day passing subtle, debilitating messages to my beautiful clean slate of a daughter? If I knew, I'd sell quite alot of my soul to protect her self-confidence from the slime of self-doubt sliding its suffocating message down the ages.
Tonight I want to silence my ancestors new and old. I want to act David to the Goliath, Family, which gives with one hand while the other sneaks round from behind until it has placed its gentle, fatal seal across the mouth. Let me speak! Let me speak! Let me say the unspeakable, project my voice into the darkness and be heard.
Of course I know, I do know, that the voices which hinder me are not real, though lately they may as well have been. I also know that, for some reason, in my - dare I say it - extremely talented clan it is fear of success which has frequently stumped us, not fear of failure. Laughable when it's told out loud, just like that, without a by-your-leave, don't you think? Lethal, too, when you combine it with the voices.
I remember a favourite maxim of mine: Leap, and the net will appear. Or, as in my case, the inter-net. Writing here for almost a year has indeed helped me to silence the voices. I can only imagine that the reason I feel like I'm wading through treacle in over-sized wellingtons every time I even so much as think of writing, lately, is perhaps because it has become that much nearer. The dream, I mean. The one where I get to write all the time, where my commitment becomes tangible and the results are paid for - for real.
I'm scared. But I'm driving myself crazy with this. I need to leap.