My Journey to Limerence ‘Losing You Saving Me’ by MC Browne
I was born in the US to N Irish parents and we all moved back to N Ireland at the height of the troubles. 1969. Coronation Street had just taken off as a soap opera and troops were brought in from England by the truckload to walk the streets of Belfast.
I left as soon as I could, I ran away from the soft rhythms of the Irish poet and song master Cecil Francis Alexander, the words of ‘All things Bright and Beautiful’ and ‘Once In Royal David’s City’ being the most literary things in my life to date; my parents driven by the need to provide the essentials in life, with no time for anything else. Up until then I scribbled – everywhere – on walls, fences, bits of paper.
I dallied with writing in my twenties, doing fashion design and working alongside PR’s who produced dry parched press releases whilst I was told they should be admired for their creativity. In my 30’s I was trying to get a glimpse of the glass ceiling that everyone kept referring to but I couldn’t see. It’s always been other people’s problem with me – my lack of being able to stay in the place people felt I should be grateful for.
I went travelling – then returned to work with a vengeance and returned to college to do a Master’s degree. Writing a tome of rubbish – the conclusion was ‘Who cares – not me’. I passed, but it didn’t enhance my thinking or my creativity, but it helped my income – which doubled overnight. I started getting into Shakespeare – Loving the twists and turns of his work – from Midsummer to Macbeth. I felt buoyed by the modern adaptations of each Shakespeare fable. I started to write – dribs and drabs. Random thoughts.
Then the children arrived – and in 2012, tragically, my father died. It was a tragedy like no other. He left me a note – ‘Where’s the book you should have written years ago?’ That was it. And a cheque. I was bereft.
At age fifty, I applied to the first writing course I found on Google in London – and was accepted. In 2013. After a six-month stint I finished my first draft. The story of Juliet and her Limerence. The strapline: ‘The romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one’s feelings reciprocated.’
The people on the course were highly academic – they kept throwing names around with abandon – Sylvia Plath – Vladimir Nabokov – and no one had heard of Marian Keyes. One asked if she was the wife of an economist – which made me giggle! Eventually. I did wonder – if these are the people who are shaping our cultural future. I started to read some of the literature they mentioned – what had I been doing all my life? There were these amazing books. I read solidly for a year. I discovered a new level of thought although Marian remains dear. I revisited my first draft. I sent it off to a London agent – was rejected it, but got accepted on their writing course – but only if I rewrote the book Limerence. I submitted another idea – no, they wanted me to write Limerence.
My husband and two children encouraged me to lock myself away – and it helped me understand what life is like for my teens at school – working to get something right – it’s challenging. I learnt of Autocrit. It soothed my missing years of writing practise.
I kept the synopsis the same and continued to work on the novel for another year. Chopping and pasting. I discovered that people will either love or hate your writing – and often they won’t tell you which it is. I have always loved Juliet – the book is her story. Her husband remained the same over the year and the object of her obsession finally got his name, Luka, in March 2014.
In January 2015 I decided, either publish or allow the draft to languish in a drawer whilst I plough on with book two. I decided to publish. So far so good – the book has been given shelf life in quite a few bookstores and is stocked in most as of the end of May. A few top reviewers have read it and to date it’s received brilliant feedback. I’m – well – chuffed.
I also began to write for TTThreads.com covering new fiction and music like The Brits Awards 2015. I was asked to write about the new McLaren supercar launch. TTThreads then offered me an article slot just for me, called #MCMonday. I am now fulfilling all of my writing ambition. Now, it’s all I do, just write. I have always wanted to write things that people will love – so far so good. Maybe Cecil Alexander was right – maybe All things really are Bright and Beautiful.
(c) MC Browne