Years ago I moved to an island, chucked my job – in fact, fuck it, let’s be honest, chucked the last job which might have promised to turn into a career. I lived in an attic flat so cold that I spent the winter with a hot water bottle tucked down the front of my trousers. Hat on, scarf and gloves on. At first I was lonely and called friends daily. Gradually I called them less, and slowly I wrote more.

At art school, through a complex combination of circumstances, I ran out of money. I mean, clean out. I had a jar of lentils and one of rice and I ate those. Day by day I ate the same meal. When I ran out of lentils I ate rice and when I ran out of rice I remember standing in my kitchen and not knowing anymore what to do. The silence was huge. I went to bed for the weekend because I was hungry and there was nothing else to be done.

I left home when I was barely sixteen. I lived in a filthy little flat where the binbags would pile up outside the back door. I remember a homeless man – the brother of a friend – stayed for a few days. He left behind a Coke bottle filled with bitter, muddy magic mushroom juice. I drank half of it and ended up again at the bathroom mirror with my razors out and just bawling. Bawling.

Writing is revenge for me. It’s a lifering. It’s ammunition. I do not know how I am sitting here or what I am saying. All I have learned is to watch as life takes itself apart and rearranges itself. I am writing a story about a woman who can’t stop walking.

 

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