I’m in a relationship.
It’s very new indeed – only a matter of months - though we spent about a year eyeing one another and plucking up the courage to approach. There was a lot of faffing about, of blowing hot and cold, of agreeing to meet and then standing one another up. Nothing new there, then.
Now, two months in, we spend time together almost every day. I feel more and more attached – and more afraid. I find myself wondering if this can possibly be The One?
Already it’s becoming hard to find time to fit in the everyday stuff – clean the house, for example. Dust-balls blow down my kitchen floor, and unmentionable mould is populating my attic.
But oh, I’m a flighty thing at heart: my feelings fluctuate all the time. Somehow, this relationship brings out the best – and worst – in me. One day, it’s potentially the most exciting thing ever to happen to me. Another, I want to scream at it to get the hell out of my life. But this is, I guess, the transition from Honeymoon Period to Reality.
You may be wondering how I find time to write, given all this?
Well, I have to. Because the relationship is with my new novel.
Relationships are usually (in my experience, anyway) equivocal, infuriating, powerful, terrifying, and time-consuming. As is writing. Both demand commitment. Both wither in the light of too much expectation. Both require large amounts of quality time spent together, and both are about learning to communicate effectively and truthfully.
Clouds already loom. Recently, I’ve noticed myself making the odd excuse not to meet (dustballs and mildew figuring prominently). And I can already see a lot of flaws in the Beloved, and wonder whether these will be too numerous to allow us to reach the finishing post of Happy Ever After. I’ve also begun to notice substantial flaws in myself: procrastination, pernicketiness, impatience and hyper-criticalness being just a few.
And I’ve noticed that when I get bored, I turn to sex.
Oh dear, I didn’t do that with my last relationship. Sex was occasional, a quick one-night stand at the most, or hardly referred to beyond the first kiss. Only at the very end did it rear (as it were) its ugly head, when of course it was a fitting orgasmic climax to the building relationship. I was a New Celibate, or nearly so, last time round. This time, I seem to have become a Whore.
Trouble is, I’m getting bored with it. There are only so many times you can write: ‘Do it to me – harder!’ without laughing hysterically and falling off your chair. I had to interrupt coitus recently by bringing in a third person throwing eggs. It’s a bad sign. I need to get back on the straight and narrow. Otherwise this novel is in danger of reading like a porn mag.
So is this the Real Thing? Is this just fantasy? Who knows? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by going through it.
Therefore, I promise:
- to Have and To Hold from this day forward – to sit down and spend Quality Time Together, whatever the temptation to a) eat chocolate b) play silly computer games c) ring a friend or seven d) write Strictly blog
- To Honour and Obey the Muse, for Better, For Worse, For Richer (hah!) For Poorer, in Sickness and in Shitty First Draft
- To Forsake All Others – including poetry, short stories, non-fiction and novels by other people – even if they seem infinitely more promising than the one in hand, and
- To Love and To Cherish, till The End do us part.
I just hope that somewhere out there, someone is buying a hat.