My supervisor has given me the licence to write my thesis as a novel and thus made me a very, very happy girl indeed. I had been using fragments of fiction in it before (or, more accurately, instances of autobiography), but he said that there needed to be more fiction, and that I wasn’t embracing the concept of fictocriticism. So, in order to be true to the style, he suggested I write the entire thing as fiction. I was exhilarated, and worked out how to write it while on the bus going home. Now I am more relaxed, more in control of my material and completely in command of the style. Which is useful, as now I have to rewrite everything that I have done, and produce 80 000 words in four months. How hard can it be?
And I seem to be happier in general, not least because spring is on its way and the trees are bristling and boisterous with blossoms, while daffodils and jonquils have sprung up in the parks, grinning insanely. It’s light when I drag myself out of bed in the mornings and today I went out to get my coffee wearing a cashmere cardi instead of a coat. As I wrote to an Australian friend, only when you have experienced the (comparative) horror of an English winter can you appreciate Spring like this.
My psyche is clearly undergoing some sort of shift as well, because I have had not one, but two, positive dreams in the last month. It is the norm for me to have disturbing dreams. Where H dreams about having sex in spaceships, or helping Flash Gordon fight enemies in the bush, I dream about people being killed, dismembered or lost. I once woke up crying from a dream in which my mother died of cancer; another time I was stuck on an exploded volcano in Australia, surrounded by blackened shrubbery and pools of lava (this dream is explained by there being an extinct volcano at the back of our property in Oz), and I have fought off men trying to rape or attack me more times than I can remember. However a few weeks back I dreamed of being in a car in a prehistoric landscape, with pterodactyls flying above (I am very fond of pterodactyls). It did end rather suddenly with me being crushed by an overly large bird but I still woke up excited because I never have fantastical dreams. And then, just recently, after dreaming of being in a house which was haunted, and after an attempted murder by a ghost (its hand rammed repeatedly into the side of my neck), I found myself outside with H. We were children again and we leaned over a fence, looking at the water which had overflowed from the creek into the paddocks and formed streams. There were about seven little platypuses wriggling through the streams, which was utterly charming. It’s rare to see platypuses – they come out in the evening and they don’t like noise – so to see seven small ones all bundled together and slipping through the water was delightful. I woke up feeling positively pleased.