I don’t know how to thank you all for the amazing support you’ve given me over the past few days. I’ve been completely overwhelmed and immensely grateful. Thanks to you, and to my family who’s been fantastic, a horrible experience has been made entirely bearable.
The good news is that I feel a great deal better than I did about leaving my college. The bad news is that I’m instantly down with a throat infection. But that is what I think might be termed a healing crisis. I seem only able to process big emotions viscerally, and my goodness it was SUCH a shock. I think I know what being run down by a truck must feel like. All chronic fatigue phenomena have on one level a protective function, and my body has registered that something large and truck-like or bullet-like has hit me and so its instant response is to lie me low for a bit until the danger passes. But also, and finally, the last part of the old structure of being has been plucked out, and it seems to be a perfectly clean wound that now needs to heal up. And it will.
My relationship to the university was never a wholly healthy one – if indeed it’s possible to have that. I approached it always as a very good girl with something to prove, and I would put myself entirely to one side in order to be pleasing and appeasing in any way the university wanted. I never quite managed to forge a better relationship than that, and if I hung onto my old job, it was partly because I still had a romance with the university and still felt it might love me a bit. But also partly to have this great monument to achievement by my side where it would stand in for anything I might personally lack. So it will be very good for me not to be able to define myself in that way any more. I’ll have to be just me, and accept that it’s enough.
And of course you are all quite right – I’ve got a big open opportunity now to do new things, and that will be exciting. First of all, I’ve got my autumn back. No need to battle the elements, regretting the dying of the light, cursing the ever colder weather. I can stay cosy at home and write when I feel like it (this is not quite how Mister Litlove is envisaging it: he has more of a Colette and Willy scenario going on, whereby he counts the number of pages I’ve produced at the end of the day). But first of all I’m taking a holiday to get over the shock of it all. I’m reading Anthony Horowitz’s surprisingly good pastiche of Sherlock Holmes, The House of Silk, and listening to audio books of Poirot’s early cases and an old favourite novel, The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler. And I have Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck to watch in Roman Holiday. So you can see I am self-medicating in style. I’m not looking forward to packing up my rooms, but I can take a little time over it and, when I’m feeling better, I’ll be able to blog regularly and devote some time to getting The Best of New Writing on the Web up and running. I’ll be just fine. Thank you all so much for helping me to be that.