What I want to say to you – a Novel-in-Waiting

It make take a while but this novel is coming
It may take a while but this novel is coming


I want to say that we choose a path and that maybe it’s the right one and maybe it’s the rightest one and maybe we’ll never know. I want to say that sometimes you feel that you are living the wrong life, that this isn’t who you are, that you could have been more, done more, that there are all these skins. The skin between this life and the parallel universe, the skin between people who will never quite see out of the same pair of eyes. There are the moments in time when you feel you are mapped right on top of another person, see eye to eye, see through each other’s eyes.

There are times out of joint. There are times when you wake up and things aren’t quite right. You wake up and the sky is still dark, or a June day turns black, or you go out and there isn’t a soul in the world walking and everything is white. You come out from a coma and realise that you have lost several weeks of your life and nothing will bring it back. You missed your 40th birthday, so you aren’t really 40. You received a job offer but weren’t able to accept it. You might have begun elsewhere. You come home and find out that he gave some of your stuff away. Or you don’t recognise your clothes, your tastes, your husband. The blow to the head makes you ask what are the choices you made and what the hell are you doing.

You have changed. Your young children who pick up on the smallest things, who feel separation like ivy being torn off a tree, they no longer quite recognise you. You look like my mummy they say but they have this impression that she’s gone somewhere. She is in the fairytale hospital because they have never been there, or that you went to heaven which is that lovely shop in between Tesco’s and the Butchers where they sell scented candles and play the music with chimes.

There are the lost children, the ones who were wanted and never were, the ones who had to be given away, the ones who disappeared, if only from memory. There is the child inside ourselves, there is the version of our childhood we tell ourselves that may or may not be real. There is unreliable eyewitness testimony, there is the laying down of memory, there is the retrieval the altered contexts, the differing standpoint like the observer effect on Heisenburg’s electrons.

3 thoughts on “What I want to say to you – a Novel-in-Waiting

  1. A – you said “there may be stretches of time when you are not able to be physically present with your manuscript”. So true for me just now – my youngest is 5 months old. I had SO forgotten how little one can get done with a new baby in the house. I am craving to write creatively but can only manage spurts of non-fic.
    Best of luck with the novel. N x

    1. alisonwells

      Hi Nuala,

      Lovely to have you here. It’s reassuring to know that all writers (even published ones, like yourself!) are sometimes overtaken by life. We somehow (!?) need to trust that the intention is still strong, the ideas are still simmering somewhere and that when a space opens up we will find our way back to the glorious feeling of creation. In the meantime journals, non-fiction, snippets and fragments may be like Hansel and Gretel’s crumbs in the woods, guiding us back. A

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