I am at my desk in India and now it is day 14 of my fresh-hatched life. I really do have the feeling I went from being a writer on the inside waiting, to becoming someone else.
Myself but manifesting as an excited writer, writing.
My family of friends in India appear to be dealing with me normally.
I am still wearing the party dresses I am famous for (hair full of Ayurvedic oil to accompany and no bra in sight - for me India has all the freedom of being a child with a dress-up box – a ball-gown with flip-flops etc).
I give my Ayurvedic doctor friend a characteristic twirl but inwardly I have this new-found straight line. I interrupt my sleep at 2 am with sentences I have to record, plus whole eggs of poetry roll out of me even when I am practising yoga.
I would perhaps discourage a yoga student of mine from getting up mid-asana to retrieve their iPad and quickly key in some intrusive thought - but alone with myself, I rejoice in it.
The inward change I feel does seem to me as dramatic as a fat person waking up thin. People here don't seem to see any difference - I am still Jeannie, a long-time client, handled when necessary with wisdom and love - but in my mind there is a banner overhead, flying.
This one is a writer.
I don't talk to my Indian friends about it much because I am busy writing.
If you wonder about my comparison - fat person waking up thin - and surmise that perhaps I know nothing about moving between those two states, you would be wrong. In actual fact I went the other way as teenager - thin to fat – and in less than two years I climbed from 97lbs to 145lbs, factually.
In our culture that kind of weight change attracts a huge and negative response. I was 15-17 years old at the time and in the height of my own adolescent insecurity. I remember hungering to be thin again (word choice deliberate) and then eventually life and I ironed all that out. The hunger I felt to become the writer I am now (a writer writing) was similar.
I had a huge wave of London stress before I got here - my own tight margins on time and money – as well as the add-in of other people and their equally entitled mess. I only got here with some humour and my nervous system intact by focusing on Chamundi Hill Palace and breathing.
At a practical level it was my god-send of a neighbour who saw me off. He is a knight in shining armour and has become my gorilla-hearted friend. His depositing me and my three overflowing suitcases at the Airport Hilton 48 hours before my flight was such an act of applied care that it alone saved me.
Gorilla's love strongly and tenderly (ref. Tarzan) and they love for life. They are equally capable of foraging and fighting. But if you believe the pictures we see, gorillas are also happy to socialise and well able to kick back. I picture my friend Reg right now - long gorilla body - reclining on his equally long gorilla couch - having a light banana bread snack or something similar. If I am happily here in India right now then he is a big part of it.
When I do show him this latest blog he is going to flash his new pearlies and groan.
For some reason when people say 'Jean-nie!' I always experience that old childhood retort rise in my throat (circa 1976). I don't say it aloud but I can hear it.
'That's my name, don't wear it out'.
I guess the present day equivalent would be 'whatever'.
Hard then to say which London events exactly - if any - precipitated this change. I am back on the subject of reawakening as a writer.
I suddenly remember a line from a Raymond Chandler novel - I like Philip Marlowe and would describe him as a shy gorilla as well. The book I am thinking of was ‘The Long Goodbye’ and it is the agent of a writer in the book, talking.
The writer in question has a difficult wife (she turns out to be a murderess and somewhere in his unconscious he has clocked this although unfortunately she finishes him off before he can tell). The writer in this novel is also an alcoholic.
The agent is trying to sell his client's case to Philip Marlow and the words are a truism which is why they stuck in my head.
‘My client is a writer Mr Marlowe and the only salvation for a writer is to write.’
The only salvation for a writer is to write - and the act is everything.
Readers are wonderful and for me publishing more would be oh-so-great but writing for a writer is also enough. The body happiness that comes when you feel yourself using your limbs just as they are intended.