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Everything’s different.

Home is different. I’ve left the little two-bedroom flat that I lived in for twenty and a half years. (If I direct my mind just so I can recall the sensation, a little thump like something dropping from my ribcage into my belly, when I watched the movers take the bed out of the front door and thought “this is really it, I’ve spent my last ever night here”). I filled something like ten wheelie bins with culled possessions and packed the rest into the car, and can now attest that nothing brings home how many books one has been able to buy over two decades than having to carry every single one of them down six flights of stairs. D and I filled the garage from wall to wall with furniture and bags and boxes and transplanted dust. We still haven’t reseeded it all through the house.

The landscape is different. Not profoundly different, given we’ve moved, what, twenty kilometres? But then again… I’m now surrounded by big-boned, well-groomed houses that sit in among their landscaping looking pleased with themselves, not the blocks of well-used brown-brick flats and townhouses that lined my old street. The hills are over here now, and the river is a different river and it’s that way. There are mountains wrapping around the whole horizon from one side of the house, and so few houses between us and them that the light pollution isn’t enough to blot out the constellations.

There are still sulphur-crested cockatoos, though, screaming cheerful abuse at each other as they fly in formation over the streets or strutting and flexing their crests by the roadside in the mornings. It’s the same mobs that I watched from my balcony at the old place, for all I know. I’m glad they’re around.

Daily life is different. It’s different from what it used to be and because we’re still evolving into our lives in this new place it’s continually different from itself, but it feels… airier. The bigger house in the more open place seems to have changed the whole feel of each day. Housework routines haven’t started to feel oppressive, the schedule for the bus seems to fit into the new rhythm of our days where I had been sure it would mean frantic floundering and scurrying. The bus in to work gives a longer, more relaxed transition from home to work and back than the harried scoot in the car did. (And I’ve actually chipped a hole in one corner of my to-read pile now that I get to sit and read for two hours or so per day while someone else drives.)

Writing is different. I have a manuscript on my editor’s desk at BL, but everything in my current mental workspace is original now, no tie-ins or franchises. For the first time in ten years I’m working without an external canon or style guide, and without even a contract or a firm deadline – everything I’m doing at the moment is on spec, set to go hunting for publication once I finish it and turn it loose.

For the first time in a long time, that’s feeling better and not worse. I’m feeling like I’m taking off with each new story, rather than flailing and wobbling because the comfortable rails aren’t conveniently under my hands any more. I like tie-in writing, I’m pleased I’ve done it and I’m looking forward to doing more of it, but this newness is a sensation that’s very welcome right now.

My habit of sitting up into the small hours on the computer when I ought to turn in so as to have a scrap of dignity the following morning? That’s still the same as always. On which note, time to shut down. Tomorrow I’ll blow the dust of my blog the way I’ve been blowing it off most of my other possessions, and see if I can remember how to post it. ‘Til then.

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