There's a hole in my mouth where my tooth should be.
My life at the end of last year and the beginning of this one was taken up with what could loosely be called 'The Tooth Saga' in which I made 5 visits and three phone calls to the dentist, suffered through days and nights of pain, lost four kilos due to being unable to EAT ANYTHING, agonised over the whether or whether not to pull the tooth out or have root canal therapy, decided on root canal at the last minute, despite the expense, and then ended up having the tooth pulled out because it was actually unsaveable.
Two and half weeks later the stitches have dissolved, the wounds are mostly healed and I am left with a hole in my mouth where my tooth should be.
And I don't like it. At all.
My tongue keeps sneaking up there to check it out. My other teeth feel like they're in the wrong place and the word that keeps flashing into my head is 'pegs'. I have little individual, stuck out pegs in my mouth with gaps in between them.
It makes me feel old. Slightly decrepit. Like I'm hiding a secret defect that no one else can see. From the outside I look like I'm okay. Inside my mouth, however, it's a different story. I'm lacking. I'm not whole. I can't chew like other people. There's something missing.
Maybe that's how we all feel. Not about teeth, necessarily, but about something that we hide from other people. Maybe it's something we've done, something we don't do, something we'd like to do. Maybe it's something that was done to us, once, twice, whenever. Something that made us different, set apart. Maybe we just don't feel good enough. We're not okay compared to everyone else. Not as talented, not as smart, not as put together.
Right now I'm feeling it about my writing. Yes, I know. It might sound ridiculous. But it's true. For a couple of weeks I've really struggled with not just how to write the project I'm working on, but whether it's even worth doing it at all.
I've got a hole in my writing 'mouth'. From the outside it looks like I've got it all together, but all that's holding words and paragraphs together are wobbly pegs with gaps in between them.
Internally it's become obvious to me that I'm not doing my best work. The stuff I'm writing is okay. It's average. It's acceptable. But it's not great. And I know that I am capable of something better. Possibly even something approaching great.
I just don't think I can do it on my own. I need some help. When I've worked with a mentor I've done better and learned more. If I had an opportunity to do this I know I'd grow as a writer and have an opportunity to do something Quite Good.
The upshot of all of this is that I've decided to apply for a NSW Arts Writing Grant. It's a grant for professional development and funding to complete a new project. To go along with this, I've started a 'crowdfunding' project to support my application. You can read more about it here. I'd really appreciate your support.
Holes are funny things. The first step towards dealing with them is to accept that they exist. Then there are things you can do to work around them or fill them in. I can't grow another tooth. I can do my best to deal with the gap though, to accept it, and learn to chew slightly differently. In time, with help, I might decide to do something like get a bridge or a plate.
With the holes in my writing, I need to look at them face on. I need to admit they exist. And then I need to set my mind towards how to do better, with help. Please read about my plans for a bigger, better novel. I'd love you to be part of the team.