THE WRITER’S LIFE
This time of year is probably the best to be doing my job at the moment. This point in my life is probably the best chapter so far. I see the sun rise and set in my waking life, just as I’ve seen my life end in the past, then found a new dawn.
Most of the freelance work I’ve found myself bidding for has come from other countries. Native English writers seem to be in demand within the gig economy. As such, my working day has evolved even more into something which just fits around my odd waking hours, which have become stranger still.
Until recently, I was obeying a body clock which saw me rise in the early afternoon and retire in the small hours: My waking hours were typically noon to 2am. My unholy trinity of alcoholism, depression and insomnia was such that the latter was mainly driving. The alcohol has been under control for a while, abstinence just a life-long reminder. Depression is an ongoing battle, a life sentence of guilt for my particular sins. An inability to sleep was the one I could never get my head around, despite the sedative element of my prescription drugs.
It could be a passing phase: It may be because I have a lot on my mind at the moment, with my upcoming benefits tribunal. A couple of other things as well but things which I can’t speak of here. As with everything else of that nature, those troubling issues will be addressed in my fiction.
Writing has been my therapy for some time now, as I deal with life post-alcohol and with the fallout of mental illness. By facing my issues in fiction, I make them public but in such a way that only those closest to me might know which aspects of me are in those stories. My work allows me to exorcise or embrace things as I feel necessary. The people involved are protected by anonymity, pseudonym and metaphor, and everyone else gets to read what I hope are good stories. I’ve been told that my writing seems to come from something deep inside me: I’ve been rumbled.
I’ve been writing ever since I picked up a pen and paper when I had nothing else. During that time, I’ve made friends and more recently, business contacts. When I was contemplating what to do with my last short story, “Echo Beach”, I had a choice: It was good enough to sell but I sold out in the end: I gave it to my friend. He’s the editor of Schlock! web zine and he does it for the love, not the money; like me. It’s a symbiotic relationship, where I bring him readers and he gives me exposure. So Echo Beach will be published this weekend.
While I deal with other things and keep myself out there in the freelance market, I’ll always fill my time with my own writing; Addressing personal and worldwide issues, and coming up with new stories. The next one has a working title of “Necessary phantoms” and it starts like this:
The circumstances surrounding me becoming a temporary ghost were surprisingly ordinary. Because if a ghost writes the story, then they control it. If a ghost tells this story, it doesn’t hurt as much…
And so back to the working and living day: Becoming a freelancer has worked better than I could ever have hoped. It has helped me with my writing and with simply managing my life. My life is now full with writing.
With clients posting work from around the globe and the time differences involved, my day has migrated, quite naturally and by fortunate circumstance. I still get up at around noon but it’s not uncommon now for me to go to bed at 6am. I was restless between two and six in the morning when I was trying to sleep anyway.
So at this time of year, I get to watch the sun set as I sit at my desk and write. Then I do at night what most people do during the day. Before I go to bed, I see the dawn of a new day: That wonderful ephemeral first light, which sings of so many things ahead. For me, it’s as though the sun has gone around the world and it rises with new stories gathered on its journey.
A “normal” day isn’t for me. Personally, I find the hours which most people call “morning” completely dull: Like mornings at work in a Dolly Parton job (nine to five), wishing I wasn’t there and longing for lunchtime. The perfect hours in which to sleep.
I may be damaged goods but I realise I’m lucky. My unholy trinity and me seem to be working things out together.
It’s like an atheist epiphany.