Today, just today, if I wanted to write about a topic that really interests me, the truth is, that would be on writing. Not parenting, not women in the workplace, just writing.
I’m not sure it’s all that interesting for anyone else, but if you’ll indulge me for just one day, that’s what I’d like to do.
Writing is like dating – at least it is for me. I haven’t had this conversation with anyone else, so I might be on my own. And I mean dating as I remember it, back twenty years ago – maybe it’s different today.
But back then dating, and right now writing, I do the same thing. I go out into the world, being myself, but mostly as close as possible to the best version of myself. I meet people, I chat to people, I might get a nice compliment. Spurred on, the next time, I take it a step further. I dress up – putting all my best stuff on – and contact someone directly. My target, if that’s not a terribly mercenary word to use.
I wait for a response. I watch the phone. I check that it’s switched on. I give it a shake, to make sure the 3G is working (and yes, that bit wasn’t around twenty years ago). I distract myself with a cup of tea, because a watched pot and all that. I check the phone again, hoping for a sign of interest.
And sometimes, it’s there! Elation, butterflies – the feeling is mutual!
I’m on a high. Which soon turns to worry – what if I’ve over-sold myself? What if I can’t live up to expectations? What if the interest wanes? But it’s infinitely better than not hearing back at all.
And sometimes I don’t hear back. Sometimes the phone doesn’t light up after the cup of tea. Sometimes days go by, and nothing. I wonder if I should try again. Will I appear too eager? What happened to treat-em-mean? It’s perfectly good advice most of the time, but maybe just this once it’s OK to send another message. My first one mightn’t have arrived. You know, the way messages just don’t arrive… So I follow up, and I wait. And sometimes, I hear nothing. Oh. So maybe the first message did arrive after all. Two going missing would be a coincidence… I think. Or should I try one last time?
The pushy voice in my head says there’s nothing to lose – asks what’s the worst that can happen… “Go on, just send one more message”. The sensible voice argues back saying “Have some pride – step away from the phone”. I almost always listen to the sensible voice. Almost.
And sometimes, finally, there’s a reply. A “Sorry, I meant to get back sooner – yes I’d love to” type reply.
And I’m grateful that when I was twenty I listened to the sensible voice, but today, sometimes, the pushy voice is right.