This month’s extract from The Cure For Sleep for subscribers on Substack spoke of desire: the kind we suffer in secret, finding no outlet for it in our waking lives. It comes from a time when I’d begun writing a mile in public beside the outdoor pool in my small town: a strange self-made way of expanding my life that brought much joy – while also unleashing less comfortable emotions. I asked readers to tell me a short true tale on this theme in return. Here is where any responses will be showcased.
OFF THE PILL and with my wedding ring thrown away in temper, I sat sleepless in the attic. New and unhappy night-time routine since midsummer when I felt the season begin sliding towards the pool’s September closing day.
Nye and the children were in separate rooms on the floors below, but I was still crowded, caged. Like a vixen in heat, I wanted to be outside the house, skirting fields and fences, laying scent trails, lying in wait. Not sitting spinster-neat on a single bed, hemmed in by the books of bolder women: Anaïs Nin noting in her diary that all days should be so good – the sperm of seven men by bedtime; Frida Kahlo lying laughing on the grass with a female lover; Lee Miller posing naked for the camera of Man Ray, equals in bed and art; Georgia O’Keeffe likewise with Stieglitz; Simone de Beauvoir delighting in a first orgasm at almost forty, just as she’d been resigning herself to losing youth and beauty.