Anorexia

An inner urge kept annoying me. It demanded my attention. Write the book it said. Easier said than done.

I began and then 45,000 words into it, I lost my way. Not sure what to do next, I tried to resuscitate the words I had written, but it read like eating chalk. I struggled with all of it; Anorexia, the mental illness association, the lack of clarity…

I sought answers. What caused Anorexia? How did it come about? Why did it happen to me? My courage faltered, evaporating, fueled by wild imaginings.What would people think? The colour drained out of my world, leaving me small and vulnerable.

It took a while to pass. At nearly forty, I caught a glimpse of the Anorexia’s shadow and just earlier this year once again felt the icy touch of its fingers. The abnormal eating and exercise behaviours had long gone but something else remained. What?

tape measure

Maybe a crazy hologram that refused to die.

I tried to define sanity and couldn’t quite pin it down. Insanity and its connotations proved to be an endless, reedy quagmire. Not a good place to dwell, I decided.

In the mid-seventies, Anorexic models graced the catwalk. No one spoke of treatment. Treatment for what? So I slipped under the radar, beautiful, thin and intelligent. Ironically, it saved me. I was thirteen at the time, my life on the edge of the adolescent vortex.

Restructuring the book failed. Invisible barriers thwarted my efforts time and time again. Why was this so hard? The extras folder bulged, filled with words best forgotten. Seeking a different perspective I wondered if  YA fiction might work. On google, I began to investigate the possibilities.

On my fourth attempt, the barriers lifted.

Writing in this style suited me and the words began to flow when I made the decision to write my experiences down; Anorexia, the seventies, a first generation Australian struggling to fit in an Anglo world.

April 2017: I am still writing, revising and rewriting. Now half way through my sixth attempt, I feel that I am getting somewhere. I struggled with:

  • the mental illness connotation
  • the structure of the book
  • the voice of the antagonist
  • the genre that would best accommodate my writing

Discussion with an old friend who works in a library helped me to see clear. I shall write it as fiction which gives me far more freedom to explore the darkness of the experience in a creative and visual way. It also removes any potential unhappiness with characters as they are portrayed.

It’s a relief to have clarity. The final piece of the puzzle has just fallen into place.