There have been no posts on this blog in forever, by which I mean: not one in all of 2018. I stopped writing everywhere except where I needed to, for money.
I stopped writing because John died.
John died in April, and it was horrible and messy and complicated and I still don’t really think I’ve got my head around it. Everything is different now. I am different now, and I thought this website was as dead as the girl who used to write it.
John built this website. John paid for this website. John did everything for this website, and this website (and the book that came out of it) will always be for him. He would be very proud of this, I think. I think he would mainly say “I told you so”. He would be extremely smug, and I do, on most days, assume that he is being extremely smug somewhere. Even if it’s just smug atoms.
I miss him more than I can say.
There doesn’t seem to be any point writing this website without him, really. This website became a book, and the book comes out in January. It comes out in eleven days.
Give us back our eleven days! This is an example of what I mean when I say there isn’t any point writing this website without him: nobody else will find that nearly as funny as he would. I used to believe when I was little that I would never be able to get married because nobody would understand what I was saying, because so much of what I was saying was quotations from books. Then I met John, and I thought- to my own astonishment- that marrying him was the only thing that made sense. (I really thought we’d make it! I really did! It wasn’t such a crazy dream, after all. I can’t berate my past self for naïveté, even: it was an ok dream to have had.)
But it’s nearly the last day of the year, and I didn’t want this blog to be dead. I wanted to write something to say that I was still here. I am still here. The book is called Midnight Chicken, of course. Midnight Chicken (& Other Recipes Worth Living For) comes out from Bloomsbury on 10th January 2019. You can buy it on Amazon.
I have basically forgotten how to write even the most basic HTML and I feel very sad about it. This blog feels like it belongs to somebody else, somebody dead, and yet- I am still here. I am still here and I wanted to say that.
I wanted to say that I am still here; I am still alive; that I have spent the whole of 2018 trying to see if there was a way I could go on being here.
And last week I looked around my sitting room- a new flat, one John never saw- with a much-adapted, much-improved Fighty Harry curry simmering on the hob (gas hob; John taught me properly); and it was the last working day before Christmas, as our curry parties always have been and always will be; and the room was full of people I loved; some people we knew together, and some people I have met this year who I can’t imagine being without; our old friends and my new friends, some people who knew the score and some people who remembered it and (sort of hideously) one person who didn’t know John at all and who must have found the Dead Boy chat sort of unsettling, in hindsight; and the lights on the Christmas tree were shining and the windows were covered in steam and I was cooking the curry we used to cook together in our big old pressure cooker, and everyone was laughing and talking all at once, and I thought, ok.
Ok, I thought. I am doing ok. This is ok. This is good.
And the next night Fiona and Joe and I ate takeaway, of course, as we have done on the last in-London night before Christmas for so many years now, come hell or high water, come fire or flood or hospital; only this time we wore ballgowns and a cheerfully-nonplussed stranger was there too, and we ate dumplings instead of curry, and the flat was in the other half of London, and John was not there- and yet, you know, he sort of was. I felt like he was around. I felt like the important things were still around.
It wasn’t the same. It was the same and not the same; different and not different; better and not better; worse and not worse; two traditions I thought would have to die when he did, two things I thought I’d lost for good. I thought I’d lost this blog for good, too, but then Joni Mitchell came on my parents’ stereo and I felt like- maybe- there was some point to writing here at the end of a long, long year. I wanted to say that maybe if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that death isn’t exactly the final curtain that I thought it was going to be.
Things shift and change; things are different now; and I don’t know anything for sure.
I don’t know, but I know that every time I tell someone new about John it’s like he’s there.
I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I wanted to write it anyway. Joni Mitchell has finished singing. Outside the stars are shining very brightly and the air is very cold. I have written a book. I have written about our whole life together, so it’s there forever, as long as the British Library lasts; and I have taken the best bits of our lives together and folded them into this new strange life without him.
I wrote that last link, by the way, without having to look at the code. I remembered my WordPress password. I have written a whole blog for the first time in years.
Happy New Year, beloved ones. Some of you have probably been reading since the beginning, and I suppose what I really wanted to say is: this is not the end.
(P.S. I made Midnight Chicken today and then I made it into a pie. Everything changes. Things evolve. Pies are great.)