1. In Parallel
His eyes stare at her through a miasma
His words reach her muffled through the fog
Her chair is quicksand
Nothing is solid anymore
Nothing is real
'have you considered'
He asks her
She could save
His eyes dance with light as he smiles at me
His word bounce almost in song
The floor is quicksand
Nothing is solid anymore
Nothing is real
We have found one
He tells me
He is saved
She said yes
2. When the going gets tough, the tough get wiseOne of the hardest things for me personally in the ten years since William came into our lives, simultaneously blessing them and turning them upside down, has been the seemingly constant dead ends and re-starts with things. At the time William was born, I had a pretty senior job in the Prison Service, as Area Psychologist for London and in charge of all the psychology in the London jails and probation services. It was an exciting job and a very interesting experience in life, but the twenty-four hour/ seven days a week on call pager and the long hours were not conducive to looking after any baby, let alone one with medical needs too complex to expect the best of childminders to cope with. Full time work eroded to part time, to part time working from home until even a working from home job with any kind of regular working hour expectation was impossible. We spent 80% of the first four years of William’s life in hospital and just keeping the family together was about the best I could manage.
After William’s first transplant I sat down and thought what it was that I really wanted to do in life. The only thing I had carried on doing since he was born was writing so I decided that that was what I would do. I would be a writer. I was a writer! I did a four week magazine pitching course and soon had my first commission from a monthly glossy mag. Others followed and I was soon doing OK with writing. As time went on, I began to feel confident in stepping out and creating new projects. It’s funny but almost every time I did, William had one of the set backs that saw us back up in Birmingham and back on TPN for a couple of months. These tended to be a year to eighteen months apart so I guess it took that long for me to regain the confidence to try again.
Last year was one of William’s best years since transplant, well it was in terms of hospitalisations anyway. His absorption was a bit sluggish and we had some backwards steps in terms of his reliance on overnight tube feed but we had not a single emergency hospital admission! This was great for me. I got back into singing, writing songs and performing on the Croydon open mic scene, I had meetings, got excited and started new projects, the main one being the HeBeSheBeWeBe Theatre Group, designed to be fully accessible for people with mental health and other challenges that may prevent them from joining a theatre company. As I was writing the plans I suddenly had such a strong conviction that William would be sick again that I almost heard my voice saying it. I think I actually may well have said it out loud, totally subconsciously. Sure enough, I dashed up from our local hospital for our first open workshop. That was the start of the chapter that has brought us back to re-transplant.
When we came home on TPN, I was so convinced it would be temporary that I even made plans for an inclusive youth theatre to open in September. I rushed around, going to meetings, making more and more plans… much to the bewilderment of that wise friend of mine, the one from the ‘tantrum, tears and brandy night!’ He would constantly ask what on earth I was doing when things were so clearly up in the air with Wills. I think I was surfing on waves of denial and white horses of blind optimism. My wise friend kept saying to me “Do what you can do form a lap top anywhere. Write! It’s what you’re good at and what you are here to do!”
It’s funny, due to many situations, not just my own, the theatre company has also seen some false starts and changes of plan but, guess what, I have written two whole plays since the summer. Sometimes it takes the challenges in life, and I mean the really big ones, to force us to stop, look at things and realise that we can spend so much time running around, making plans, trying to be all things to all people that we miss what we really should be doing, we miss our own USP.
Since I started this blog, ten days ago, I have written 19 648 words (to exactly this point) on this blog alone, as well as work on the novel apart from the extracts I have shared here. Right now, I don’t have the energy - physically, mentally or spiritually to do anymore than the things I have to do, the things I was put here to do and, rather than feel I’m running around failing and feeling disappointed at yet more false starts, I actually feel more complete and at peace with myself than ever before. I get up in the morning, get the children off to school, make my coffee and can’t wait to write. When I’ve done William’s TPN and drugs and everyone is in bed again, I’m here again immediately. I have called myself a writer for all these years but at last I have finally stopped talking about it, gathering books, tools and notes and, for the most time, procrastinating. I am doing it in every minute I possibly can and with a passion I have never had for it before, much as I have always loved it. I think I should write myself a huge sign above my bed for when we come out at the other side to remind myself of this!
Run and play over the wires
Walk their tightrope as each moment requires
Caress and tease in discord of suspension
Direct every second of your attention
To the rythmn and cadences you are locating
And revel in the primordial sounds you're creating
(a very drafty little play. I rarely write in rhyme so was having a bit of fun)
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