It is going to be a bleak month. Normally by early December I would have already reacquainted myself with my ageing ‘boogie’ board and may even have graduated to the big girls' waves at
. They do seem to get scarier every year but that’s probably just me. I would have been up at 5am every morning and out jogging along the Sunshine Beach , greeting the rainbow lorikeets and galahs, dog walkers and café owners. The pallor of my English life as reflected in my saggy old face would have already begun to turn a healthy shade of gold and my sat down all day spare tyre would have started to deflate. Noosa River
This year everything is different because I am packing up and going home for good but I can’t until the flat is sold, which probably won’t happen now until after Christmas. I have not had a Christmas in
A lot of things will end and that is bothering me too. I am terrified of going back to live in
I still can’t believe that you have to turn yourself into some kind of product to be accepted. It seems gauche to me. I once had a conversation with a Chinese woman who told me that she had to overcome a huge cultural barrier to succeed in business because you are expected to ‘sell yourself’ and, in Chinese culture, it’s considered extremely bad manners to big yourself up. All very Glengarry Glen Ross. I could be making one big mistake – how would I know?
I’ve always hated moving – I have lived in this flat for ten years and the previous one for eleven. There is something about undisturbed dust that I find comforting. I think it was Quentin Crisp who said that dust stops bothering to accumulate after a couple of years. After this, I never again want to disturb my dust. I have decided that this will be my last move and, by my enforced inflexibility, I place fairly significant pressure on myself to find the right place to live. Obviously I wouldn’t be so stupid as not to reconsider if I found myself accidentally living in a war zone or next door to Donald Rumsfeld, but I would prefer not to upheave the various containers in which I’ve mothballed my hopes and dreams again.
It is tough going through all the boxes of the work I’ve done. All of it has been rejected, some of it after careful consideration, most of it summarily. I ask myself did I deserve that or even if you can count fate into the equation. For a rationalist, I seem to put more store in destiny than can be considered healthy. I buy lottery tickets and am always disappointed when I don’t win. An alarming percentage of the British population is prepared to admit that winning a large amount of money is one of the main strategies of their retirement plan. A boyfriend once asked me if I had a pension plan and I replied, ‘Yes, my plan is to become a best selling novelist.’ There is no Plan B and that boyfriend is long gone. He was with the Pru.
It’s indicative of my state of mind that I often think I have more chance of winning the lottery than having a piece of work accepted. At least I know that I have exactly the same chance as everyone else even if the odds are 76 million to one. Maybe this is why poor people buy lottery tickets – it’s one of the few things that you know can’t be rigged. In a world where you suspect book editors would rather teach Jade Goody to read than go through their slush pile, a lottery ticket is at least a level playing field.
It isn’t money I want. I think I’ve made if fairly clear I’m against large concentrations of money in a small number of pockets. If I did win the lottery, I’d use the money to challenge inequality. I don’t know how. I’ll worry about that when it happens. I never have been poor – although I’ve often been skint. There is a big difference. I was lucky to be born with advantage and to have received a decent (and free) education. But I haven’t been able to make a contribution to society – there was just never a place for me. And I know I’m not the only one. I have a dozen friends in the same position. All we can do is live. Quite often that’s just not enough for those of us who wanted to have a use.
Enough of this maudlin talk. Tonight I’m going to the Tate Modern. Mr T is a member and he has chosen me out of all his friends to take to a special members’ night. He can’t think of anyone else he’d rather push face first into a large, plastic chute. Bless.