Earlier this year, after reading a film script my friend Emily pumped out in a few days, I decided I wanted to do the same. I came up with an idea, decided to write it “just for fun,” thinking if all else failed Emily and I could make it on a hand held camera.
Within a few days, my mind was filled with visions of myself stalking the red carpet at Sundance, and casting Jennifer Lawrence as my female lead.
(Said idea has since been revised to entail writing the beginnings of a novel during National Novel Writing Month, and then if it turns out to have legs revising it and revising it, and then if it turns out okay sending it to my agent to see if she thinks it is any good.)
Similarly, last week I was walking up Fifth Avenue thinking how well a particular dress fit me, and wishing I could have it remade in different colours and fabrics, perhaps with a slightly lower waist line or more room for the bust (which as all larger busted ladies can attest, has a habit of pushing up both waistlines and hemlines in a rather annoying manner).
I thought to myself that perhaps I should hire a seamstress to make a few items, which turned into learning to sew myself, which turned into visions of myself sitting at the kitchen table in the evenings creating for myself the perfect capsule wardrobe.
When things got really crazy, though, was when I started imagining myself walking around in my perfectly tailored clothes, being featured on The Coveteur for my mad fashionista skills, and eventually ending up with my own Victoria Beckham style line and side career as a designer. Alongside my other planned side career as a supper club doyenne and salonniere.
You can see why my book has taken me five and a half years to complete. And I don’t just mean the perpetual distractions; I mean the idea spiralling. Can’t just write a book, oh no. Have to write the Best Book Ever.
Jerusalem humbled me with its history and religions winding in and around each other. Visiting Jordan is helping me better understand the Syria crisis unfolding now. Visiting South East Asia taught me about how limited my own understanding of food is. Bangladesh taught me about population density, poverty, the intensity of collective cultures, and the beauty of colour. France and London how connected people became intellectuals and created whole movements of thought and art which continue to influence our world. I could go on.
Lyrian on travel.
- S: Is it just me, or do you feel like we're living on Sesame Street?
- Me: No. It's just you.
Like last night, for example, ending up in a Canal Street karaoke bar with people I’d only met two hours before, dancing to Fergie’s My Humps and singing along to bad Katy Perry songs. “I’d like to go the party Kesha is describing in this song,” I said.
There is something about New York that commands you to be social. It’s what I love about the place, and I’m not sure if it’s a reflection of something that changes in me whenever I’m here, or something in the city itself.
Maybe a little of both? I decided a couple of days ago that I wanted to be open to possibilities and serendipity while I’m here, and not to retreat too easily into the comforting embrace of DVDs and soothing cuddles. But then, the sceptic in me pipes in with, “Well, even if you were open to possibility, no one in London has ever invited you out karaoke-ing with them anyway.” (Although I have invited others out karaoke-ing with me.)
How easy it is to fall back on stereotypes.
I also wonder how anyone keeps this up in the long term. How do they keep the plates of work, and intimate relationships, and adventures all spinning at the same time? They don’t, of course. They alternate the coffees and the nightlife with burying themselves in their offices and studio apartments, producing, producing, producing.