Tuesday 29 September 2009

The novel.

‘Babe, are you going to get ready soon?’ asked P, sheepishly peering around the doorframe.
‘But I’m not… I need to… oh, sod it,’ I spat, snapping my laptop together with one hand as though I were a ruffled headmistress loudly closing a huge, chalky textbook to shock her class into silence.
‘Well I think–' P almost answered.
‘No, really. Just sod it. I’ll just stop writing right in the middle of a chapter. It’s fine!’ I continued, in a sarcastic manner that suggested that, actually, it was anything but fine.
‘Oh do what the hell you want,’ asserted P, entirely fairly. ‘I came in here to give you a gentle nudge, not start an argument. Just get ready and calm the fuck down, right?’

Now, much as it might appear that way, that exchange wasn’t me having a go at my husband. Oh no. It was method acting. The lass yawping unreasonably at her man wasn’t me me; it was the character me – the girl in my story who was finding any excuse to tear strips off her husband in the hope of it delaying her trip to chemo. I was getting in the zone; immersed in my role; positively Daniel Day Lewis-ing my way to a better book. You might even say I was doing it for you. (No, really, you’re welcome.)

It’s seven months now since I saw Mr Marbles. Given that my therapy was of the cognitive behavioural kind, I knew that there’d be an end point to our sessions, goal-oriented as the approach is. And thus, having seen me through my panic attacks and my health paranoia and my inability to know how to process The Bullshit, we went our separate ways – me in my headscarf, him in his corduroy slacks – with the option to resume our sessions if ever I needed them.

I haven’t been back since. Not because I haven’t needed it – in truth, I did actually make an appointment around this point, but cancelled it soon afterwards, more out of embarrassment at my David Moyes-crop  than having to admit mental defeat. The end of my therapy with Marbles, however, coincided rather neatly with the beginning of a new kind of therapy – writing my book.

Last week, I handed in the first draft of my manuscript. And immediately after pressing ‘send’, I burst into tears. I felt like I’d given birth. (Nine months in the making, with tears, tantrums and several sleepless nights, I guess it’s as close as I’m going to get.) Yanking me out of my self-indulgence, however, was a call from Mrs Marbles – my excellent publisher who I suspect has, in the absence of a hospital therapist, somewhat taken on the mantle these last few months.
‘Eeeee! Well done!’ she shrieked, as we each squealed into our receivers.
‘It’s a massive relief,’ I admitted. ‘It’s been all I’ve thought about.’

It really has, too. And though writing that book has been without doubt the most enjoyable work I’ve ever done, by 'eck, it hasn’t half kicked my arse. (Not to mention my husband’s.) But now, for the most part, it’s done. And, just as therapy with Marbles altered the way I felt about The Bullshit, so has the book-therapy. Now that it’s written, there’s no need for me to re-live the experience any more. Now, it’s just a story; a mere structured plotline with chapters, characters and a full stop at the end. And, whether Marbles would agree with me or not, for now at least, that’s the way I’m going to look at it. It’s like P says whenever I blub about Vera or Ramsay or whoever on Coronation Street. ‘Cheer up, love. It’s only a play.’

- - -

Shameless plug alert! The book wot I wrote – The C-Word (And Other Expletives) – is now available to pre-order here if, y'know, you're the kind of forward-planner who likes to make their purchases six months in advance. Which I very much hope you are. Besides, it was recently confirmed that pre-release book sales are a proven method of keeping previously aggressive tumours at bay. So you could say that my future is in your hands. Hey, don't look at me like that – I don't make the rules...


Helen said...

Well done you!! I cannot wait to read your masterpiece x

Wardotron said...

Only one thing to say to that:


madsadgirl said...

Well done. When's it going to be published?

madsadgirl said...

I've pre-ordered it. Now all I have to do is wait until next April.

Lisa Lynch said...

It's like doing your Christmas shopping 15 months early. You're, like, totally one step ahead of the pack, innit. x

Lorri said...

Dear Lisa,

I love reading your blog and I have read it since you first appeared in Glamour magazine and it always makes me smile (or cry). My sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Aug 08 and it has helped me understand a little of what she is going through. She is now doing really well after chemo and surgery and her hair has grown back curly (much to her dismay!)like yours. I have just pre-ordered your book and can't wait to read it. Congratulations on the book Lisa, I hope it's a best seller, you deserve it.
P.S. P sounds lovely!

Anonymous said...

Wooooo hoooo!! Congratulations, sweetie, you are a star :-)

I am one of those forward planning, making purchases 6 months in advance kind of gals and I have ordered a copy, yea!! Plus, I am an unashamed Alright Tit lover so it is the law that I buy the book...

M x

Anonymous said...

Can't tell you how happy it made me to order the book. Incidentially, I don't like the word 'pre-order' - all orders are before delivery, the 'pre' feels sort of redundant, like 'free gift' or 'actual fact'... thought that was your kind of observation... x

Rozzy Roo Ra said...

Wooooo hooooo! Just ordered your book :O)


marsha said...

woo wooo just ordered the book. This is the furthest in advance I've ever ordered anything ever.

Can't WAIT to read it.