Yes. I have decided to Beyonce this blog. My phone has been ringing off the hook with people wanting to know what’s about to happen next! Well stop harassing me, this is the conclusion.
For those who can’t remember as far back as Tuesday I will recap.
When we last saw each other it was 1991 and Tony Blair had just done me over by awarding the poetry competition to someone else. I insinuated this was someone VERY BAD because that was a good cliffhanger and that makes people want to read the next bit.
Let us see what that’s all about…
Once, I had a hamster called Jerry. He was a good guy. He went bald. We were firm friends. I even attended a hamster party, and he came with me in his little ball and met the hamsters who were friends with my friends.
One day, after a long and stressful life and several months of ailing health, Jerry died unexpectedly.
I was very saddened. This was even worse than when PJ and Duncan, my fish, died. (I do not remember the timescales. Perhaps Tony Blair and PJ and Duncan did not exist until later, or maybe this all happened earlier, I just don’t know. These are artistic choices, please stop being fussy).
There was a girl at school. We will call her Blonna to protect her identity as what she did was very mean and I wouldn’t want her to get hate mail for it now many years later. Blonna told me she was glad Jerry died.
This was the culmination of some long running feud. We had both said things, done things, we didn’t mean. But this? This was a step too far. My friends with hamsters understood and they told Blonna she was mean and she shouldn’t say things like this, and we all said we would not talk to her any more. At this point we all simultaneously flicked our hair and walked off.
The next morning, long before our daily assembly, a woman I did not recognise came into the classroom. She asked me if I was Amy. I said, Um, yes? because she was so scary I wasn’t sure if I was me. She had a glass eye (this is not an artistic choice, it is the truth) it was fixed and scary and her eyelid didn’t blink. Her other eye narrowed in anger, she pointed a finger in my face. She said, If you’re ever mean to Blonna again! Don’t you dare talk to my daughter again! I don’t remember her real words, I only remember the eye and the loudness and being very confused. My teacher was furious, she told her to go away, she hugged me all the way through assembly and even then I didn’t stop crying.
Tony Blair is handing Blonna the little chair. She has done an acrostic using the word DAFFODIL. There is a massive daffodil drawn in the empty bit of the page. It is very pedestrian. Not her, I think, my eyes filling with tears. She is smiling, she holds the little chair above her head, my heart is a concrete block.
At home I tell my mother. Tony Blair! she says, missing the point. She’s talking about the parents who gathered at the gates, Why do they care, they’re all Tories anyway. I do not know what this means but my mum is clever and she is a good person so I know she is right. Whatever it means, it helps me feel better, they really are tories. Ha ha ha.
It would be many, many years before I entered another competition. It would be 2016, in fact. Welcome to 2016! This is a dark future. All the celebrities are dying, it turns out Tony Blair was a baddie all along and we are trying to teach robot cars to make complex ethical choices, like if they should sacrifice themselves to avoid hitting a group of orphans. Phew, it’s all so heavy these days, so as you’d expect the stakes for my own writing also much higher.
I have written nearly a whole book. On this particular day, sometime in late March, I am feeling okay about it. Better than okay, today I think it is brilliant and probably one of the most fun books ever. It is on this day that my boyfriend Rhys sends me a text. (He often send me texts but I mean he sends me a specific one). It is a Daily Mail competition for a first time novelist. The prize is really good, it’s way better than the play set and the little chair combined! But even better, something like this would prove for sure that I am good at writing.
The deadline for the competition is April 16th and I have a lot of work to do so [montage] I knuckle down, editing day and night, I print it off and read it aloud while I walk around the living room with a pencil tucked behind my ear (I don’t but it looks good for the purposes of this montage, otherwise it’d just be me sitting there typing on my lap much as I am now) I shake my head and I throw it all away and start again. I show it to Rhys, he gives me a double thumbs up! (We can’t use dialogue, there’s music playing, so we need visual cues.) I put it all in a large brown envelope and I hold it to my chest and close my eyes for a moment before putting it in the post box. [end montage]
Not much happens for a while that is relevant to this story. I had a really good time in Disney World and we can maybe put in another montage of me enjoying rollercoasters but then we might have too many montages in a row.
Wow, time has gone so fast! Much like a rollercoaster (you see what I did) there have been ups and downs but now, finally, I am answering a telephone call. My hand is shaking because I have been waiting for this call since I have been told I was shortlisted. I am in work, in the corridor, pacing. The person does not waste any time, they are telling me, You won!
Take that Tony Blair, I think. I am happy. This is everything I have ever wanted. I am thinking I won’t ever be sad ever again probably and then
I am thinking they’ve probably made a mistake picking me because I am actually not a very good writer at all.
Perhaps this is not a very inspiring end to this story but it is the truth, and it is important to tell the truth because then other people will know that a lot of us are like this. We never think we are very good at anything and we think we need other people to tell us we are good but we don’t. It isn’t Blonna or Brother word processors or Tony Blair standing in the way of our happiness, it is only ourselves. Silly us.
So maybe from now on, when we are feeling worried that we aren’t good after all, we shouldn’t look out there for support, but in here (I am pointing to my heart).