Fate picked me up in my hometown of Glasgow many light years ago and since that day it has moved me around the dog-eared map which has gradually become my life.
It moved me eastwards to follow my studies. It moved me south to follow my heart. It even took me far, far west, over the Atlantic, to follow a dream. But it has brought me back to the place which I now call home, where my love is, my family is, and where my pet iPad is, sitting quietly on my knee, letting me stroke its smooth keys with my eager, hungry fingers. And where I live now, in the west of France, we have an expression to describe this, and indeed any, strangely compulsive activity:
“C’est plus fort que moi.” It is stronger than me.
What exactly is stronger? The urge, the need, the intense magnetic pull.
I think about doing it while munching breakfast. I dream about getting back to it while toiling at work. I long to race home and start pursuing it as soon as the threshold is crossed.
But I don’t crave my little iPad to just surf or to shop. I only want to use it to write. And write. As much as real life allows me. Day or night. Indoors or out, the glare from the screen often the only beacon of light in my darkened room or under the leaves of our sprawling fig tree. And although I try to control the desire to take a long, hard drag on this highly addictive drug, it is becoming increasingly difficult to refrain from slipping into a daily typing trance.
I didn’t use to be like this. I pottered. I gardened. I ironed. I phoned my family and my friends. I cooked. I cleaned, sometimes. I watched TV and read a pile of books. My mind was free to partake in life’s little moments of emptiness. It was free to meander along the paths of nothingness, enjoying time to just be. Or just think. Or just sit in peace in a soft leather armchair and watch the world go by.
Not now. The garden is a shambolic jungle. The ironing is ten storeys high. I email my family and ignore my friends. I eat bread and cheese, my eyes pretending to watch the news as my brain looks for its next scintillating word. And the only things I read these days are written by my blog pals, delivered overnight to my inbox, ready to be gobbled down with my tea and toast.
So what happened? What made me mutate from very ordinary middle-aged wife and mother, to Trainspotting-style junkie?
I turned fifty. Last year I reached the half century mark and a little yellow light bulb went on inside my head. Flash, flash, flash, it said. Stop procrastinating woman, it cried. If you don’t start writing now, maybe you never will, it screamed. So I listened to it (listened to a talking light bulb? Maybe I’m mixing metaphors). First came a bedside, handwritten journal, then a real-life proper online blog. And now, six months on, I’m entering challenges and contests, writing for a fabulous after fifty website, submitting pieces to magazines, guest blogging, and above all posting and posting on my very own site.
Sometimes I worry about posting too much, so like a teenager after a first date I try to hold back and play hard to get. No one likes a pushy, mum-cum-writer stalker. But my good intentions to act cool and not call too often soon vanish into thin air. After a couple of days of silence I’m back on that blower, leaving message after message, begging for attention, desperate to be liked and noticed by the new love of my life – the reader.
Is there a cure for this hard to break habit, this stronger than steel tug on my ageing fingers? Has anyone out there found a treatment, using methods other than simply stamping on my iPad, cutting my connection or chopping off both my hands?
Well, frankly, if there is one you can keep it. I’m on a writing high and I don’t want to come down. Not now, and not anytime in the near future.
My name is Juliet and I’m a wordaholic. And don’t try to make me go to rehab cos I won’t go, go, go…
About the author
Juliet Nubel Young is the author of the blog omgimfiftyblog.wordpress.com. Born in Glasgow, Scotland she studied anthropology (don’t ask) at St Andrews University long before Will and Kate had even heard of the place. Love brought her to France, then took her to Miami and Barbados for three years before bringing her back ‘home’ to Angers, a beautiful historical French city where she now lives with Hubby and their two daughters. She works in an English language school, but for the rest and best part of her time she is to be found writing on her pet iPad in their favourite leather armchair. Apart from her blog, she scribbles for jaallen.com, weaves for danalatorre.com, contributes to the FabafterFifty website, guest posts for extremely kind hosts like Sue, and tries very, very hard to start working on one of the four books she has zooming around inside her head. Cat-lover, dish-washer, she describes herself as a baby writer. Recently she was diagnosed as being a wordaholic but is not seeking treatment.