Thursday, 5 June 2014

Filling the Hole

Post by Lily Harlem

Hello and welcome to the Brit Babes' Blog. I feel I've taken over a little this week as my other half, Mr Harlem, took control on Monday. It was his first time blogging and he handled it brilliantly - you can read his post here.

Reading his thoughts on living with me, however, got me thinking. What is it like to be married to a writer, and in particular a writer of erotic romance? And how has my second career affected him?

Writing isn't my profession. When we met I was working in London as a nurse, always rushing here and there with never a moment to spare. My shifts were chaotic, my sleep pattern upside down and I was never home on time. I also had to travel for  study days and bring work back with me when I did arrive on the doorstep - usually it was the off-duty rota which is a complete pain in the arse to do - argh! In those days he also worried about me a lot, my safety, things could get a bit hairy at times when drunks staggered in or domestic disputes landed on the Accident and Emergency doorstep. I'm not a very big person, certainly not intimidating and some of these people could be daunting and out of control. But I knew I had back up, security, and luckily these events were fairly uncommon back then, it didn't stop him worrying, though, especially if he heard something on the news when I was at work and knew I'd be involved.

Yet now, things are very different. I work from the safety of our home nestled in the Welsh hills. My sleeping pattern is set in cement (which I think is my body making up for years of a messed up circadian rhythm), I rarely rush anywhere and I'm happy to stay at home for days on end with just my cat and dogs for company. If anything I'm a little dreamy, on the outside at least, inside my head I have a story playing out like a movie and I'd just biding my time until I can write it down.

Perhaps he thinks I'm quieter now than I used to be, but I don't think I am really. When I have that 'just finished a novel buzz' I can go a little crazy. There's usually gathering of girlfriends, a trip to the village pub, wine, food, a dip in the river if we're feeling wild (and it's summer). I loved my time nursing but it wasn't sustainable for me, physically or emotionally, though I did nurse for 18 years so I've done my bit for the sick in society.

But for a long time, when I left the wards, I really missed the camaraderie, the teamwork, the pulling together with (mainly) a group of females to make a department run smoothly and to ensure everyone was safe, comfortable and having the correct treatment. It made for a work-hard-play-hard attitude that kept the adrenaline flowing.

This lack of female company was a gap in my life when I started writing, which can be a lonely business. I drew friendships from the creative writing course I did at Uni, some of whom I still keep in touch with, but it wasn't until the Brit Babes formed that I really filled that hole. There's something very special about knowing a group of women well, really well. Well enough to tell them your hopes and dreams, your fears and insecurities. To be able to celebrate together, commiserate together and help each other out without agenda, without expecting anything in return. It's humbling, to be honest, and the Babes are great.

It extends so much more than the Brit Babes, though, there are many, many other writers and readers that I've met - virtually and in person at Eroticon and readings - who fill that hole for me and make the world I live in complete. One day I'd love to throw a great big party in a fabulous old English Castle for all my author and reader friends from all over the world. We'll have half-naked hotties serving us champagne and spend hours and hours chatting not just all things erotica and erotic romance but girly stuff, from the deep and meaningful to the just plain silly. One day… 

Lily x


  1. Lily, I have recently left full time employment for "retirement" ... well, my husband has retired. I had to give up my job as we moved about 2 hours out of the city into wine country. It's beautiful out here and I love all the time I spend with my husband which I guard jealously, but I have to say, your post rang a note in me when I reflect on how much I miss my colleagues, my boss and the company I worked for. Sometimes, I miss looking after my boss so much, I feel it very keenly. It's early days yet, we've only been here 2 months, and I have yet to settle into a routine. I'm still settling into this lifestyle change.

    1. Daz, yes I guess it is early days, only 2 months, and I love that you guard your time with your husband "jealously", I'm the same with mine. I suppose it's life's rich path, though, nothing stays the same and these periods of adjustment are bound to make us think, reminisce and look forward to what the future holds. I have to say, where you're living now sounds idyllic for a slower pace of life.

      Thanks for stopping by today :-)

  2. A wonderful post Lily- I feel just the same. I have had so many different places of work over the years, and although I don't miss the jobs themselves, I do miss the fellowship of my comrades. I've worked alone from home for the past 13 years- and although I love to be solitary- every now and again I seriously crave company- and someone to stop my imagination turning to self doubt and chaos!! Thank goodness for the BB's- best friends any one could have. xxx

  3. What a lovely post, Lily! There is something so vibrant and wonderful about the company of good women friends, and certainly the Brit Babes fill that hole. I love that I'm a part of such a group of friends, and as you say, the companionship of other writers and readers. That has been one of the very best parts about being a writer. Thanks for putting it into such wonderful words. But then again, you ARE a writer :-) xxx

  4. I must be odd because I don't miss anything to do with my life previous to writing. I suppose my life before was hectic but also I was unhappy, so to have my dream job--working for a publisher from home--plus writing at the weekends...I have the perfect set-up. Of course, meeting you for a drinkie and dinner from time to time has been one of the highlights. To know I'm not weird in the head because of the "voices", well, that was very nice. Also, when we were in that lingerie store and talked about a character as if she were real...not many people would get that. I mean, who else but a writer would say, "OMG, Zara would love this outfit!" HAAAAAAAAAA!

  5. Fabulous post hon. I would so be there to help you celebrate my friend!

  6. Ahhh Lily-Loo! It's such a lonely old business! Such a godsend to have my ladies to natter unhindered about all things writey and naughty :)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.