Every time I start a new book, I have the feeling this will be the best one yet. Then I get to about 30,000 words and decide I am a terrible writer and should rethink my entire life.
This is normal for most creative persons. Every new start is a chance to create something better than ever before. Of course, this can be like chasing a rainbow but perhaps this is part of the attraction. Capturing the chimera.
This past week, my fingers have been flying over the keyboard, making that nice clicking sound, like heels on a marble floor. The information is revealing itself to me and the characters are making themselves known. I am itching to get back to the writing like I am when I read a marvellous book.
This could be my best book ever, but ask me again in 20,000 words.
Meanwhile, I have been thinking about friendship this week since my friend was diagnosed with a mass of retarded cells in her body. We have chatted and texted every day, distilling the information from the doctor and the test results, talking about details with the offers of help and her reality of children and work and meals and getting to chemo. She is super sorted, and I can only add my name to the list along with all her other wonderful friends and family and pop some chicken noodle soup in a container and take it over.
There is nothing like a crisis to make you see who your support crew are.
The thing is, I am a good person to have on your side. Another girlfriend said to me this week, “If I wanted anyone to fight for me, I would choose you.”
This week my brother left my home to start his life without cancer. He has exciting plans and certainly hasn’t wasted his illness. He had changed and is embracing life in every way.
I fought as hard as I could for him. Advocating with nurses and doctors, cajoling for extras from the staff, enrolling ward clerks in the story, the cleaners, sweet talking the goddamned woman who worked the coffee machine in the cafe and could she butter the Boston bun for him, because he’s only 56 kg and over 6 ft, and needs to put on weight before his next round of chemo.
I drove him to PET Scans in Heidleberg, then straight to oncology massages in Dromana and back again. I went out for McDonalds at 6.30am and make pancakes for him at midnight. I sorted out the drugs when he was on 20 tablets a day, and rang hospitals when his temperature was nearing 40º, and he thought he was drowning in his own sweat. I made him laugh when he was in isolation, and I did MC Hammer dances when he had spinal taps to distract him. I read to him. I did his washing. I changed his bed, sometimes twice a day. When he told me his dinner was terrible and he sounded so down, I had a pizza delivered to the isolation ward, much to the amusement of staff and shock of the delivery driver.
A few times, I drove out to the hospital three times in a day because he forgot something, be cause he needed something. It didn’t matter if it was a trivial request or not. I could not, not deliver when he was living in a hospital. I taught myself massage techniques from YouTube video’s and massaged his feet when they couldn’t find a vein, and I yelled at him when he needed to step up and stop being an angry fucker at those around him because he was sick. I held him when he cried for everything. I loved him deeply and more than I ever have. I drove to and from the hospital 223 times. That’s 8,800 km. I could have gone to Darwin and back, and then back again.
And do you know what? I’d do it all again. I’d do it for my friend, and I’d do it for you. I don’t care what went down before and what will happen afterwards but if you need me, just call out my name and I’ll come running with my learnings, a funny dance, a buttered Boston bun.