Picture this: A girl. The top of her skull ripped off. A zombie shuffling away into the distance, having eaten her brains for breakfast along with a nice, ripe tomato.

This is how I feel.

I have just finished my seventh book. It takes between 4-8 weeks for me to write a book (this one took about 7 but only because for the first 4 weeks I was simultaneously writing another book) and for that time period I am a hermit, a monster, a bitch, a recluse, a one-track minded, irritable, ecstatic, curmudgeonly (always wanted to use that word), overtired, grouchy mess who craves only sushi, quiet and uninterrupted PEACE. And the occasional margarita.

I don’t get it. Peace that is. Because there’s a five year old in my life. Mummy, can I have a yakult? Mummy look a fairy! Mummy come and play onokoly (monopoly). Mummy today I have a new boyfriend.

The day after I finish a book I’m the girl whose brain got eaten by a zombie who then pooped in my empty horror of a skull. I’m dull and lifeless, glassy-eyed and vacant. My brain can’t focus on the to-do list five thousand entries long, all postponed from the first day I started writing.

I am lying in bed right now, can’t sleep, can’t read, can’t think straight, can’t follow coherent thoughts to any one point or purpose. Things need to be done. I cannot do them. I just want to lie here. But my fingers feel like they need to keep tapping and my brain feels like it’s still moving (like being on land after having been at sea for weeks, my body is still in writing mode, still swaying on the waves).

John walks into the bedroom, where I lie festooned amongst an armada of pillows, limbs flung melodramatically across the sheets as though they’ve been tossed aside by aforementioned Zombie.

‘mewighishgighoe’ I mumble.

I feel alive. I feel dead. I feel relieved. I feel burdened.

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