Sometimes, the craziest thing you can do is actually do what you wish, the smallest things.
That is how I got fed up of waiting of having enough willpower, money and encouragement to find a new hairdresser who would deal with my hair.
So I cut it. Chopped it, more like. But it’s ok. honest!
I am nearly 50, I can afford to hear once again the same old litany of “oh no!” and “oh my god you’re always doing this” and “nooooo” or what have you.
It’s done, I feel lighter, of course, because you may not know this, but my hair was very long ad very thick. Ok, here is a picture of the other day:
Don’t get distracted by the gorgeous puppy. (Her name is Nikita by the way, and yes she is adorable)
Look at my blooming hair!
I am a wild woman, I am, I always was, I always tried to adjust, fit in, look better, dress better, be a little more elegant.
It doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work.
And yes I love my hair long, but it’s loads of hair and it’s heavy and it gets dry and I get regularly fed up with it.
So I cut it!
My husband doesn’t know yet. I curled it up in a bun on the top of my head like it was this morning, so he doesn’t know yet.
If you know about me you know I have done a lot of wild things in my life. If you don’t, trust me, I did. You’ll be able to read most of them in my second book! A That is of course if I have the courage to publish it under my own name. Otherwise you’ll have to settle for my first novel: it is still me, in a way.
And yet, the wildest thing to do, for me, is always actually act according to my own heart, and bear the consequent disappointment and confusion in others.
I am preparing for that stepping stone: after 50, I will no longer be anything but who I am, even if who I am changes rapidly, enough of trying to please. I am walking on the wild side, of me.
My life has taken an odd turn. Everything used to have so much meaning, when I was much younger. I felt everything with such forceful passion. Then I became deflated, and then I had to leave what I thought was my home, the UK. What are my stances, my passions now? I’m not sure. The same as always I think: be excellent to each another (cit. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure)
After that, I contemplated what it meant to be Italian, as I was now no longer a future UK citizen, I was back to being an Italian, but do I feel Italian? Did I feel anything, ever? I’m not sure I did, ever.
Like me, there are many people out there who have lived so much elsewhere they no longer feel from anywhere. Or they feel from a mixture of places, like me. Or they feel from no place, like me.
I know this is tedious.
If anyone should read this who has read this before they will say “my god, will you ever stop writing about national identity, meaning of life and all that?”
Well, the answer I think, is no. I am nearly 50, so I now claim the right to talk about whatever I like.
My most recent epiphany was that, whereas for a lifetime I was trilingual, or bilingual when I lost my Spanish, then English native speaker when I realised my Italian had faded enormously, and then nothing, neither, I realised actually, I am native speaker of nothing. They are all foreign languages to me.
If I were to try and find a traditional publisher for my novel, who would I contact? I have written a book set in Norway (I still think that was an incredibly stupid idea, of all the places in the world I’ve been, and I’ve been to many, why did I pick a country I know NOTHING about? Mah. Then again, most of the decisions in my life have no rational basis), it’s a fantasy/fiction/dream involving characters from all over the world, but whom am I? How would a publisher advertise me?
“New Italian author….” stop right there. I don’t really identify with most Italian culture, there is very little about Italian culture in my novel, if any, and, plus, it’s… written, not translated into, English. Ah well that’s easy, then, you’d say, contact an English, no Irish!, ahm no, an American/Australian/New Zealand….. which? Which is my English from? What culture do I derive from?
It’s my own.
So, liberatingly, it’s whatever I choose it to be, a bit like the language I choose to use, such as “liberatingly” because nobody can say I am not speaking my native language properly.
Thus I will once again (because I can) slightly shift the focus of this blog, and say I am a published author, I am writing a new book, and I will speak about that. Yes I will be amongst the millions and millions trying to be known as authors, but the bonus for me is I don’t care to make money out of these. I do want them out there, even though it terrifies me that they are associated with my name. The book is almost certainly crap as nobody who has read it has wanted to write a review of it anywhere (there are people who have read it, if you are reading me now, please leave a review/any public comment!), but, that is the freedom of being an anomaly: there is no set standard of behaviour to adhere to.
The book is on sale here, if you’re curious, but I will be posting excerpts here of both this one and the one I am writing. The House of Blue is definitely a product of Nanowrimo, in that it was written over 30 days, started off with the idea of a cool 15-year-old speaker, then I realised I couldn’t possibly mimic that voice – I was already way too cerebral at 15 for that tone. So it got shifted and then it was daring and then I curtailed it, and then it became a stream of consciousness and then I realised it was more therapy than a novel, and then I badly wanted it to be a novel so I rearranged it, I kept changing the names… but the end result, in all its imperfection, I was left satisfied with. It conveyed the mood, the magical realism of the place, and the motifs. It got some stuff out of my system so that by the end of it, a lot of it wasn’t even relevant to my feelings at the moment. It was a half-fantasy, half-fear of how I would live my elder years.
My new book is the story of my life. Once that it also out of the way, I can go back to writing complete fiction, which I used to be good at. I just had to get my own life out of the way first. So if anybody wants to try and having a go at reading my published novel, keep in mind that a lot that’s in there is true, true feelings, true intentions, true thoughts.
This below is the original drawing my husband did for the cover in all its beauty.
This is just an experiment, for a place where I also write, Mastodon
Il caldo è iniziato e stamattina, dopo una meravigliosa sosta sul lungomare a prendere un donut, un latte macchiato senza zucchero da quanto erano dolci il caffè e il latte, e un pasticciotto, dolcetto tipico di queste parti, poi una sosta piacevolissima al parcogiochi sul mare, chiacchierando con persone che sono scappate da Londra a fare crescere i bambini in un luogo più sano e bello, e una mamma di una bambina che probabilmente andrà a scuola con mia figlia, infine una microcamminata sugli scogli, siamo tornate spedite alla macchina trovata già rovente e siamo salite su in fretta in fretta alla nostra casetta, fresca e vivibile.
Oggi dicevo a mia figlia, che era impressionata dalla facilità con cui facciamo amicizia qua, o parliamo con le persone, vedi, questo è il rapporto naturale che ci dovrebbe essere tra gli esseri umani. Sì a noi sorprende perché veniamo dall’Inghilterra, ma è questo che è normale, non il contrario.
Parlarsi, raccontarsi, viversi.
Traduco il mio romanzo, ricordo perfettamente tutti gli anni trascorsi prima di questo, e la tristezza di fondo che permea il mio libro, The House of Blue (potete leggerlo qui)
i fantasmi che vi aleggiano che sono ancora lì, ma adesso seduti, in disparte, perché intorno a me c’è il sole.
Questo pomeriggio incredibilmente è nuvolo, e ha pure piovuto un po’. Immediatamente la malinconia si avvicina un po’, mi guarda speranzosa. Ok, le dico, mi metto a tradurre, ma non vado oltre. Malinconia qui non sei più di casa.
In Salento in questo momento mi sento a casa, qui dove davvero il colore che domina è il blu.
The heat began this morning, after a marvellous stop on the waterfront to grab a donut, a sugar-free caffelatte since the coffee and milk were so sweet already, and a pasticciotto, a traditional pastry of these parts, then a very pleasant stop at the playground overlooking the Sea, chatting with people who have run away from London to raise their children in a healthier and more beautiful place, and a mother of a little girl who will probably go to school with my daughter, finally a micro-walk along the rocks, we went back to the car which we found found scorching hot and drove up quickly back to our little fresh and liveable house.
Today I said to my daughter, who was impressed by the ease with which we make friends here, or talk with people, you see, this is the natural relationship there should be among humans. Yes, we are surprised because we come from England, but this is what is normal, not the other way around.
Talking, telling, living.
I translate my novel, I remember perfectly all the years before this, and the melancholia that permeates my book, The House of Blue (you can read it here)
The ghosts that lie there that are still around, but now sit, on the side, because the sun shines around me.
This afternoon is, incredibly, cloudy, and it has rained a bit. Immediately the melancholia approaches, looking hopefully towards me. Okay, I tell her, I’m going to translate the book, but I’m not going beyond that. Melancholia is no longer at home here.
In Salento, right now, I feel at home, surrounded by the dominating colour, the colour blue.
Here is my first book. It’s out there. I started it in Nanowrimo 2011 and now finally it’s published, it’s out there.
This dreamy, ghosty book kind of sums up the future I might have wanted for myself, though it is, well, obviously, fiction.
My next book, currently underway, will be quite different indeed. Let us just say if this is probably recommended for 15+ that one will most definitely be 18+.
I could carry on editing and perfecting and finding so many faults it’s difficult to keep track. But my whole life has been about waiting for the right time for something, and I always got fed up of waiting. I’m not good at waiting. And recently I have decided to just be me. And me means no waiting. This book has got to go, then the next one, and then I will be able to start something new. But both these books have to go first. So here it goes, it’s free, it’s out there! If you read it, I hope you enjoy it. If you don’t, no problem! It matters to me, that it’s out there.
If you do read it however, please please leave a review, even if it’s negative (I mean it), so long as it’s sincere.