Three years ago, I was working on a feature film and secretly writing this blog under the veil of anonymity. Two years ago, I was working on a different feature film, secretly writing this blog and in talks with a literary agent about adapting the blog into a book. One year ago, I was secretly writing this blog and awaiting delivery of copies of my book which was about to be published. Last night I was on a panel at the Southbank, part of the London Literature Festival's 'Say the Unsayable' season and talked about my blog, (no longer secret), my book, (no longer anonymous due to my being 'outed') and the film industry, (no longer have a career in). Believe me when I say that this was very surreal...
It was also terrifying. It's only the second time I have spoken in public (bar my book signing) and even a stiff whisky prior to getting up on stage didn't calm my anxiety. I'm sure many writers become a bit panic-stricken when having to talk to an audience - it was extra nerve-racking for me: a wanted-to-remain-anonymous writer who never expected anyone to know her real name, let alone have to talk to people face-to-face about her sexually and emotionally explicit autobiographical writing.
But sharing the stage with such amazing women - the playwright Yasmin Whittaker-Khan and the writer and journalist Natasha Walter - was a brilliant experience and made all the fear worthwhile. The debate we had about sex, politics and censorship in our writing was very stimulating and also, very enjoyable. I was most impressed by the challenging questions the audience posed us; and I'm thankful too, that the audience was so warm and sympathetic, coming up afterwards to chat informally and debate the issues further.
And to my friend, whom I haven't seen for three years and whose presence there was hugely appreciated because I was so scared, thank you. Knowing that our friendship is unaffected by everything that's happened, or the time that's passed, means more than words can say. And I do sincerely hope that your wife likes the book - even if I am a little gutted that she took you off the market for good.