So, we’re back in the first week of September again... already! How the hell did that happen?
Anyone who’s been a kid or had a kid will know the feeling that September brings with it, that wonderful feeling of new beginnings. I don’t know why, but I can’t shake that sensation at this time of the year, and I’ve never been able to.
This year, it’s a feeling that I need. I’ve been looking for a change for what seems like far too long, a change in the way I feel, in particular, and a chance to feel hopeful again.
Perhaps I should indulge in some of the old rituals.
Perhaps I should go and buy a new pencil case and fill it with that magical mixture of favourite old bits of stationery and lovely new pens and pencils. Perhaps I should buy some new socks and, who knows, a themed lunchbox.
It’s about rituals and routines, in the end. It’s about timetables and clock-watching. It’s about knowing our place in the World, about knowing who we are and how we function.
As a writer I set my own agenda. Its one of the huge advantages of working for myself, and one I wouldn’t give up for anything. When I’m writing my own stuff the voice I adopt generally comes pretty easily, whichever voice that might be, and, trust me, there is more than one of them.
As a writer for hire, it sometimes takes a little while to adapt my voice, to coax my throat to produce the right tones, to adjust my mouth to form the correct vowel sounds, to weave my tongue to squeeze out the exact pronunciation.
It’s like wearing too-tight, too-high shoes. It can be uncomfortable to walk, at first. It can be slow going, and can leave blisters and aches and pains, and, who knows, I might even fall on my face if I really get unlucky.
It’s like wearing strange clothes that change the shape of my body and my gait and the sway of my hips or the set of my shoulders. I hardly recognise myself to begin with, and something happens to my confidence.
It’s like being the new girl in a school where everyone else knows who everyone is and where everything is, and how the timetable works and what the bell sounds like. It’s like being the new girl and not knowing all the rules or where the loos are, and where to hang your coat.
It’s a new beginning, and it’s very welcome, and, in its way, it’s fun to be the new girl, to have everyone wondering who I am and what I’m capable of. It’s not as if I haven’t been here before.
It’s all new and there’s stuff to learn, but I’m a quick study and before long everything will be where it needs to be, this book will be well underway and I’ll be comfortable again. Give me a week or two and I’ll wonder what on Earth I was worried about.
Watch this space. This could turn out to be quite the learning curve.