In Which our Heroine Jets Off into the Unknown
Our cosy home of the last five years has been stripped back to its bare bones. Boxes have been shipped. We’ve craftily scattered pieces of ourselves all over London so it can’t forget us. Playstation here. Wii there. Awesome ice-crushing cocktail blender inherited from sister to mutual friend with disco ball in toilet. Giant Gorilla Hand to Tic-Tac next door. Clothes to charity, books to the library. All that remains is to once more rattle our suitcases down to the Tube station. Victoria line to Green Park, Piccadilly Line to Heathrow. Heathrow, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, home.
What will become of the Siren of Brixton, now that I’m leaving?
I joined the blogosphere reluctantly. I suspected all bloggers, an unknown species at the time, of narcissism and social awkwardness*. But a writer needs readers. Anonymity would, I decided, both protect me from any awkward problems with my conservative employer and my ego if it turned out my writing was shit. A pseudonym was called for. My partner came up with Siren of Brixton, a punning nod to the emergency sirens that scream up and down Brixton Hill day and night. I worried – I still worry – that people would laugh at the idea of me being sexually alluring enough to be a temptress but it gave me an excuse to use pulp art in the blog header so I decided to embrace it.
For a while I toyed with the idea of developing a persona for the Siren of Brixton but I quickly found out how much work that entails. And so, from behind the cloak of anonymity, I was more true to myself online than I often allowed in public. I discovered writing demands a great deal of self-knowledge and social media gave me a forum for testing ideas and beliefs. Not to mention an unending supply of generous, intelligent, witty people willing to share their knowledge on every topic under the sun (thereby providing an unending supply of ways to procrastinate). I’ve met lovely people in real life that I first connected with online and formed some true friendships. That’s a lesson in examining your prejudices.
We set out on this adventure with a pair of pristine new British Passports and a small wardrobe of unsuitable winter clothing. We thought there would be career opportunities and cheap travel and there were both (although, thanks to the global financial crisis, neither were not as abundant as we hoped!). We’re going home with little more than we came with but we’ve had a wonderful time. And if we can remember anything at all in our dotage, we have a whole lifetime of wonderful memories, just from our little time here.
Heading home, we have no idea what to expect and we’re trying not to guess. If nothing else, the last few years have impressed on us the lunacy of making plans. Hell, the last 12 months have taught us that! Where we will live, what work we will do…everything is up for grabs. I certainly didn’t expect to be going home with the first drafts of a novel and a screenplay in my suitcase, so I have the proof anything is possible.
I don’t know what will become of the Siren of Brixton. I can’t be ‘of Brixton’ when I’m not here! Siren of Brisbane just doesn’t have the same ring. And anyway, I might not end up there. Siren of Wagga Wagga? Siren of Woolloomooloo? A friend suggested a portmanteau, Siren of Brixbane which sounds medieval or maybe steampunk. Gorgeous, but not me. I considered Formerly @sirenofbrixton but that just seems to backward-looking. Maybe I just need a symbol, like Prince.
Whatever happens, I will keep writing. That’s the biggest gift London – Brixton – has given to me: it gave me back my writing. My goal remains to be published or produced by the time I’m fifty and when it happens, the Siren of Brixton will get the credit.
Whether I’m leaving your shores or heading to them, thank you once again for all your support on this incredible adventure. I hope you’ll stay for the ride.
All the best
PS Please come and visit me in Australia!
* Obviously, I may have been right, as evidenced by my inclusion in the club.