Keep Digging for Gold …

I feel as if I’ve been bowled out. I am hollow. As if some giant hand has scraped me inside out.   A windsock. Except one that hangs limply on a stagnant, listless day. I have lost direction.

These are hard days. When you need to keep pedalling. But it’s all uphill. No writing commissions to gear me up, speed me along. I write into a void.  Another personal essay. Which I will heft over my shoulder and solider on into the ether, touting my wares, talking myself up. 

Writing is a hard craft. And a lonely one.

I plod around the farm. Long, long walks. Jim and I. My earphones dug deep into my ear.

I listen to Elizabeth Wurtzel – she of Prozac Nation – she says writing is hard. Harder than doing law at Harvard, like she did, ‘any fool can be a lawyer’, she said, ‘but it takes real work to write’.

And I feel a bit better. For a bit. But it’s easy for her to say: she has both, a career at the bar and a book. 

I am on my fourth or 5th manuscript. My sixth attempt at NYT Modern Love. 

I’ll stand up in my seat and bear down harder.

What else is there?


I miss my children deeply. An ache. I touch my fingers to their faces in photograph frames and I wish, as I have wished a million times before, that I could have bottled the best of their early years so that I could splash the memories on my wrist as scent.  And then I could have inhaled deeply and felt the essence of them, been soaked by it. 

I tentatively make summer plans, scheme escapes, plot quarantine conduits so that I might get to them. I feel like I’m hatching some covert mission.

It shouldn’t be like this: seeing your kids shouldn’t be this hard.


Today when I called mum she told me again, ‘I am certain we live on a boat; we go from place to place every few days’.

My heart cracked loudly. So I disguised the sound with laughter, ‘oh mum, that’s funny: at least it’s never boring – you’re on the move during the time of Corona when nobody else is?’

Except then she said, a little sadly, ‘the view never changes’.

What dreadful unmooring must be happening in her head. 

Perhaps that’s the biggest reason I’m feeling empty: mum is moving further and further away.


My early morning walk and a perfect, perfect rainbow. As if it had been cast by some celestial civil engineer, a bridge across the sky.

And I looked up and I caught it, caught it before it faded with the sun and was snagged by the wind to nothing.

Whatever it is I’m after, perhaps it’s in one of those pots of gold?

Have to keep digging …

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