A caged writer is a mournful thing. For half a career now I’ve been cranking out intensively-farmed copy: vocabulary clipped, turn of phrase sanitised, natural expression constrained for maximum commercial gain. I haven’t written anything with genuine freedom for 15 years.
But now, knocking on the door of 40, I’m testing my wings. I’m embarking on the lengthy and delicate (and possibly delusional) process of extricating myself from the position of main family breadwinner and middle-class suburban mother.
My mission is to engineer the time and headspace to write, for a while, for no one but myself. The chance to be as profane, as esoteric, as whimsical as I like; no brief, no word counts, no calls to action, no target market. No deadlines!
I just want to find out if I can do it. Even if it’s just the opportunity to take a few lurching flaps across the yard, run aimlessly round the paddock, eat an exploratory grub or two and then bolt back into the safe, known enclosure with its grain-feed conveyor belt and predator-proof door.
Welcome to my midlife crisis.