It’s Saturday evening and I have no idea what I’m going to write here this week.
Usually, I can look back over the past days and something emerges but today? Nothing.
I scrape the ice from the bottom shelf of the constantly malfunctioning freezer with a palette knife and then the door won’t shut so, systematically reordering the shelves, I remove each tub of ice cream and try a spoon of each, just to make sure.
Inwardly I confirm my, ever-changing, three favourite flavours. “Mint choc chip”, obviously, “Coffee” and which other?
Earlier at dinner, I had told my son that, having scoffed at others for doing so, I might now choose, “a good vanilla”. He told me that this was, “unacceptable” and that my choice was, “lazy.”
There is still no news from my brain about what to write.
I finish the final mission of “Red Dead Redemption 2” in which I have to climb my way to the top of a snowy mountain shooting adversaries with dwindling ammunition, declining health, and a paltry array of weapons. At one point, in desperation, I throw a stick of dynamite at what turns out to be a lavatory before being shot by a man behind me on a mountain ledge and switching it off in a fit of pique.
I sit down in front of a blank screen and write.
First I start a piece about taking my daughter out for driving practice but there’s only so much you can say about driving in a circle working out where the biting point is on a clutch.
Then I begin a piece about a date I went on to Broadstairs Folk Festival but can’t find enough energy to tell the story.
I watch a trailer for a documentary about Andy Murray in which his mother says, “Whenever he has faced adversity he always comes back stronger,” which is the sort of thing every mother says about their son, although I can’t imagine my mother having cause to have said it about me.
Becoming desperate I search through a folder I have on my computer where I keep writing ideas, even though someone once told me,
“When you write short, don’t store the ideas you have, just write about them as soon as they come.”
I find a very dry half-written piece about the reasons people stop coming to therapy.
The first one is that they have insufficient trust in the process.
Everyone wants everything to be OK now, so they force it even when it’s taken them a lifetime to get here.
They lose faith when nothing is happening, start to believe that it never will, and give up.
The second reason is that they run out of energy and just stop moving when it becomes harder to work out what to say.
Reading this reminds me of a time when I was not in crisis and I would walk to therapy thinking, “What will I talk about today?”
The harder I thought about it the less useful I’d find my session to be.
One day, I forgot about asking myself the question and instead saw a man wheeling a small suitcase towards the station. He had a long blonde hair stuck to the shoulder of his blazer and I wondered if he was on his way home and if his wife might ask him whose hair it was.
That day, I had no idea what I wanted to talk about until I heard myself speak it.
Now it’s past midnight and, if I don’t think of something soon, I’ll have nothing to write about in the morning.