… Or not, as the case may be. I’ve never been able to find out much online about how being of a certain age affects one’s creativity – there’s plenty about physical changes and if you’re a bloke and don’t want to read on, that’s absolutely fine. But whether you are a woman or live with a woman or even just know a woman, know that there will come a time in her life when things Change, and not always for the better.
I’m 55. For a variety of reasons, I’d expected all this a lot sooner, but last summer was the summer of change in many ways. We sold the big family home, downsized and cleared the mortgage; we bought a small flat to renovate; our daughter left university, got a job and rented a flat in Salford. We moved house at the peak of the heatwave and I put everything down to weather, stress and change in circumstances, but there came a point when I realised that I could no longer blame the heat for sleepless nights, nor stress for being a reason for wanting to kill people. So I took myself off to see the lovely (female) doctor who gave me a prescription for HRT and told me to come back in 3 months.
9 months later and I’m sleeping much better. I no longer want to kill people, which is always an advantage. But the writing me – the me that has defined who I am for so long – is changed too. Different. I find it hard to focus now, and that need to write, to create, is missing. Gone? I don’t know. I hope not. I’ve written a couple of short stories and when I do write stuff, I can produce work I’m happy with. It’s getting into the zone that’s hard, finding the will to sit down at the computer and not procrastinate, finding that kernel of me that can create stuff with words. I read back some of my longer work and despair of ever being able to produce anything like that again. And it scares me. While I have very good non-writing friends, much of my life is built around writing, and now I’m on the other side of a glass screen and I don’t know how to break through it. It’s not writers’ block – I wish it was – but something different. I’ve changed fundamentally as a person and I think I need to figure out who I am now. I’ve done Maiden and Mother and there’s got to be more to life than Crone, surely?
Have any other women writers experienced this? And what about men? Is it the same for you guys too? How do I find myself again? I want to be Debbie the writer and not just Debbie who wrote a few books when she was younger. And I know it all sounds horribly pretentious, but isn’t that what blogging is all about?