13: Pain like knives in my back

by Jane Carnall

Pain like knives in my back. Pain and irritation in my groin -- I can feel my cunt hot and heavy against the chair. My knee aches. My eyes are itchy. There is another itchy place on the left side of my face. Netscape communicator just crashed again. Do I think of my computer as an extension of myself? Surely not -- only my other mind.

Here I can write. Writing is the love of my life: to put down words on paper in the right order. A dry and dusty love, a love that fears -- for if I love someone who is not under my control, they will hurt me. If I make myself vulnerable, they will repay me with pain. And there is enough pain without adding to it.

So I keep myself to myself: I lie still and sleep alone, with only my dreams in my head. I use my dreams. I fuel my writing. I fuel myself, my love, my words. I give you my words.

With words I can reach across time and space and touch someone ten years from now: with words I could sit at my mother's typewriter in the large and thing-filled room, papers on every surface and books on every wall except the windowed one, and write of Avon touching Vila, and this reaches out and touches someone else, ten years from that time. Fourteen years. Twenty, thirty years: how long does a story last, never published, only passed on and passed on, given and given? How many of my words exist around the world?

I don't know. I can't know. I'll never know.

I wanted to be a writer when I grew up: I still say this, half as a joke. So did both my brother and my sister, it seems: we are good with words in our family. I have not said to my sister how much I will hate it if she is professionally published before I am -- I mean, of course, with novel and with agent, with all the trappings of writerhood. I have none of those things. I only know that I love to write, and that there are people out there who love to read what I write. The essence of writerhood.

Writer in the hood. I'm hooded: it keeps the back of my neck warm as I sleep. To other pains has been added the touch of a cat's claw against my knee. Oh, thank you, cat.

I should go and feed them. And make myself bathed and breakfast and be on my way to work: I wanted to get there early today to have time for a massage. I want a lot of things that I don't get: I get a remarkable number of things that I want. Ten years ago I would have thought this accomplishment unbelievable: twenty years, and it was my uttermost ambition. I drew plans of it. The cat is purring now, noisily. I must go and feed her: Cally is waiting, too. Get your tail out my face!

508 words in 12 minutes.

16th March 2000

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