At 15.55 one Sunday in mid-April, Anne decided to go stark raving bonkers. Of course she was conscious of the contradiction: madness that’s chosen, isn’t madness at all. Nevertheless, she was earnest in her objective, if unclear how it would be achieved. She even made a note to that effect on the information sheet for the novel she’d just been reading. The novel about depression with rabbits in the title that had just made her laugh out loud.
Anne resolved to stop trying to. Trying to what exactly she couldn’t quite say. An offence against both grammar and vocabulary, therefore; pretty poor for a writer as I’m sure you’ll agree.
Stop trying to be helpful, perhaps? Although, unwilling to don fancy dress – a.k.a. inadequate PPE – and start work in a care home, her helpfulness fell well short of the mark. Stop trying to be serious, professional, grateful, informed? Stop trying to promote her books to save her publisher from drowning? Despite the obvious selfishness of the latter, did this mean she aspired to give up being good?
If you asked her, she’d deny it: how could a woman with so many faults and limitations profess to be good? Yet it must be significant that the thought came to her while reading a comic novel about depression – and rabbits, sort of – and it’s been shown that some women hang on to depression as a way of hanging onto being good.
She’d had an idea that, given her professional background, she she’d write a post about lockdown mental health. She’d take a different angle from the plethora of articles about drawing happy faces and keeping one’s mind occupied by learning Chinese. She might have had something useful to say about how the strength of our reactions might surprise us if our emotional experience of lockdown conditions mirrored some unresolved and/or unresolvable issues from our pasts.
Like Alice down the rabbit hole – or was it through the looking glass? – Anne decided to stay curious about her reactions to a world becoming curiouser and curiouser (perhaps begun when grammar went out of fashion). Where would her bonkosity take her (virtually, obviously, as she wasn’t allowed to walk her beloved moors)? And how would she express it? Would she express it at all?
Of course in deciding to go stark raving bonkers, Anne must have chosen not to. There’s no reason to believe Anne isn’t perfectly fine. But it’s rare to come across a blog post written in the third person, especially not here.
Matty was wary when the March Hare invited her to join them. “I’m not thirsty.” The last thing she drank had shrunk her to the size of a thimble.
“Forget tea,” said a fellow in a top hat. “We’ll give you a nourishing story. Dormouse, begin!”
“Not the one about the treacle well.” Matty had a sense of déjà vu.
“A well of kindness,” said the Hatter. “Without food banks.”
“You think it kind to starve the poor?”
“Where this story is set everything is shared fairly. No-one need beg for food.”
Matty sat. “Tell me! I will emigrate.”
Matty would like you to know that the first of three competitions to win a copy of her life story will be unveiled on her ghostwriter’s newsletter this weekend, and urges you to register (click on the image) if you haven’t already.