Loyal followers will notice that I have packed up my literary bags and moved locations. I think my new place is nicer – the decor is more modern, the address wittier with a cutting hint of ‘noir’. I feel edgier here, less suburban-divorcee. But if the truth be told, I left my last blog unwillingly – a constructive eviction if you will. It was one of those “there goes the neighbourhood” situations.
It all started when Cheating Husband phoned me up, a note of hostile panic in his voice. A ‘concerned’ colleague from the Journalism Department at the university where he works felt it incumbent upon herself to tell him, for his own good of course, about a certain blogger whose secret identity she had cleverly fathomed (mental note to self – don’t put a link to your blog on your Twitter profile if you wish to write under a pseudonym). She felt that he, along with a significant number of bored academics, should know that an account of his sordid divorce was being wittingly written about (I imagine thats how the conversation went) on the world wide web. Was this something he should be concerned about, he asked. This is Anglican for “What the fuck are you doing you merciless bitch”. And while I did try to stand my ground (I yelled at him in Jewish), I became horribly aware that I too wasn’t comfortable with my new audience and lack of anonymity. I know academics, you see, having been one until relatively recently. And I know how pitifully little they have to entertain themselves – you can only read girlie and tabloid mags whilst standing in a swift moving queue at a grocery store in a neighbourhood where no-one is likely to recognise you. So this was about as juicy as it was going to get for them until they were lucky enough to hit upon a discarded Heat magazine in a public toilet. And all of a sudden I was feeling the gaze of a judging public.
So, there went the neighbourhood, and I abandoned my beautiful blog, leaving it to fall into disuse. My mother asked after it a couple of times, and one or two indignant friends tried to encourage me to throw caution to the wind and carry on none the less, but I was much more comfortable out of the limelight and slowly the space it once took up became overgrown with parenting, work, and feeding the dark depression that had begun to descend as the hilarity at my situation began to fade.
I never use the word depression lightly. When I was a mid to late teenager I became close to a young woman who was fighting a resistant, and frighteningly debilitating depression. I do not want to try and tell her story, because it is not mine and I do not have the words, but I came to know, in her, the real meaning of the infamous Black Dog, and what it took to fight it off. And even when she had triumphed, rising strong to lay claim to her extraordinariness, I remembered, and I carried her fight with me, reserving a moment of gratitude almost every day that I had been spared such a ferocious and consumptive companion. But then there it was – unfurling in the aftermath of my broken marriage – and all of a sudden I could no longer be funny. I couldn’t be anything, actually. My carefully constructed story had been decimated, myself along with it. So if I am being completely honest, Nosy Wannabe Reporter had actually given me the perfect out – a sensible reason to leave my bright and sunny corner of the web to occupy the desolation of my life.
And in the strangest of ways, it was my Extraordinary Friend who gave me the invitation to opt back in. It takes a very bright light to penetrate the fog of a profound sadness, but such is hers. So when she told me to write again, I could hear her, and I did. And against all odds found I could be a little bit funny, and maybe a lot sad. But either way I am here, and that is what counts.