I've been told so many times, and believe it sometimes, that I must keep pushing her out there again and again. That it's the best thing for her. That she'll never be truly free until she's faced all her fears. And so I try not to think about her, passing her on to yet more professional and rational beings, people who have no emotional involvement with her, but who will take good practical care of her in the end, it's hoped.
I have Strachan's Attic to be concerned with now. This Other is the reason I sit down each day, to stare at a screen until my eyes start to water. I have to get this Other up and running by herself, ease her through her baby steps, and on to some kind of maturity, so I can send her off on her own journey, which will be easier for her, I think. (You just sense these things, don't you?) From time to time, when one of those little emails pops up, I think about the Orphan and wonder if she'll be all right. But then I give a little sigh, and get back to my Other novel.
But how I envy writers who truly wash their hands of their literary offsprings once the last page is really, really finished. And do I truly believe them when they say that?
John Steinbeck said,
"I truly do not care about a book once it is finished. Any money or fame that results has no connection in my feeling with the book. The book dies a real death for me when I write the last word. I have a little sorrow and then go on to a new book which is alive. The rows (!!!) of my books on the shelf are to me like very well embalmed corpses. They are neither alive, nor mine. I have no sorrow for them because I have forgotten them, forgotten in its truest sense."Well, of course, he would say that, wouldn't he? Rows of his books on a shelf? Plenty more where they came from, what?
So I get back to the current writing because this takes my mind off that poor orphan out there on her own. It takes my mind off the fact that my paintings aren't selling, and stops me wondering what that's about. It takes my mind off my solitary state living in this small town, which I chose, but which I now think was a mistake. (It seems I prefer noise and bustle about me. I'm a city girl for all my fine rural talk.) My writing is a consolation, a shield from life's frustrations - from slights with friends, a poorly-planned cash flow, decisions on where to live in this world, to the stress of watching the news. My writing - as with my reading - is escapism.
And Little Orphan Hafan Deg had just better learn to get on with things by herself.