I did not type The End. I considered it briefly after I’d added the final full stop to my second novel, but decided against Insert > Page Break >The End. Wasteful, I thought. Imagine all those A4 pages spewed from the printers of the kind souls who offered to read the manuscript, with just those two meagre words typed at the top. Not very environmentally friendly. So I just stood up and walked outside.
‘I’m done,’ I said to the over-achieving guava tree in my garden.
The guava tree had no sage words of advice on how I should go forward into this dark life now that I had no novel, and therefore no illusion-raft*, to cling to. Hardly the grand finale I was hoping for after six years, but there you have it. Husband offered to crack open the bottle of champagne in the fridge, but it didn’t feel as though I had anything to celebrate. The loss of one’s illusions isn’t a festive occasion, like Christmas or birthdays before thirty. Not for me anyway, I’m no Paulo Coelho – check my measly bank balance for confirmation that I’m ill-adept at turning human tragedy into self-help pornography. I’m more like Toulouse Lautrec; short, consumptive and prone to melancholy.
And so I waited for the hole the recently completed novel left in its wake to swallow me. And a mere 24 hours later, I sank, knees, elbows, tits and head, into this dire Friday night. Hardly unexpected. Even the yummy mummies at my daughter’s pre-school outing murmured darkly when I mentioned The End. Even they, with their Abercrombie & Fitch and 4X4s and private school vowels, knew about the pitfalls of artistic expression.
So why do it? Simple really, writing is my only chance of achieving happiness. I can do nothing else.
* Illusion-raft = pretense that I have a greater purpose, that I am more than a stay at home mom and a not very good housekeeper.