This is the first post from my TinyLetter. Sign up to ‘Please Applaud With Hands Only’ to get emails from me directly to your inbox. 

Hello. It’s been a while.

I started this TinyLetter in the summer of 2017 with every intention of keeping it updated but sadly, as with many things, life got in the way. I say life got in the way but what I also mean is that I’ve been suffering from  anxiety which has prevented me from writing anything for long periods at a time. Even as I’m writing this there’s a loud and chaotic voice in my head telling me to stop. I don’t know if I’m better now or more resilient or just determined. I don’t know anything other than I want to write again.

Between my last letter and this one, I started a new job. Then I left that job. I went through a break-up. Twice. I wrote one essay I was proud of and missed the deadline for another. I adjusted to living alone. I struggled to look after my family and then struggled with the subsequent guilt. I took a solo trip to Berlin. I turned 27. I hosted a New Years party. And I cried. I cried a lot. In the toilet cubicle at work. On my ex-boyfriend. Doing the dishes. On my best friend. Solidly during a three-hour train journey back from London. On my own.

I’m pretty certain this is normal. As a woman, you’re taught to keep others happy. It’s a subliminal societal message.  You might not even realise you’re doing it. I didn’t until I did and then I finally understood why I was always so bloody exhausted. Constantly micro-managing, caring, putting my emotions at the bottom of the pile. So this is me making an effort to unlearn some of that and put myself first.

I’m almost 28. I’m single. I’m an usher at my local cinema. I suppose that doesn’t look so great on paper. But to me it makes sense because I’m back to writing and in lots of ways that feels like coming home. And so far it’s going fine. A few months ago my play, Trashed, got long-listed as part of the Pint-Sized playwriting competition and I’ve been developing a screenplay with BFI and Film Hub North. I’d like to write more essays and features and maybe even get paid for some of it.

I guess what I’m trying to say in this very long-winded, over-share of an email is that you can expect more emails from me in the future. I’ve set up this TinyLetter so I can send out short reviews of plays and films (and possibly even books) on the reg. I might also throw in the odd life update, like this, for good measure.

Full disclosure. When I go through periods of rickety mental health I get caught up on precision. I like neatness and order and I definitely don’t like mistakes. Unfortunately, this is not conducive to a freeing creative mindset. When you’re caught up on the details it’s very hard to write, just, whatever you feel. So, in the spirit of imprecision, I hope these emails are full of mistakes. Bad spelling. Wonky grammar. Made-up words. For the love of god, though, please don’t point any of it out to me.

If you’ve read this far you’re a trooper. Thank you for subscribing. I’ll be sending out a review in the next couple of days. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this from You’ve Got Mail:

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.