The day before

SUNDAY

Well, that was one of the strangest days in my working life. After 27 years in the one newspaper office, that was it. Time to go, move on. At least I had company. There were ten of us leaving, or was it 11? I forget now. Gave a speech, cried and went to the pub: some of these things are what you expect of a journalist, some perhaps not.

So what lies behind Man On Ledge? Simple, really. I don’t have a job for the first time in my life. So I want to chart the view from this ledge. It’s dizzying and disorientating, vertiginous with self-doubt. What will I do and will anyone be interested in this pre-worn writer, features writer, editor and word shuffler? It is Sunday afternoon and tomorrow I should be going to work, but I won’t be doing that. There isn’t a job to go to any more. My leaving of The Press won’t be discussed here, except to say that my job on the features desk has gone and me with it, along with my column of 25 years’ standing.

So these jottings will chart what it feels like to be out of work for the first time. At the moment it feels raw and confusing, and just wrong somehow. How did this happen to me? How does this happen to anyone? I think it’s just called life. After a month of tears and quietly sat-upon anger, after a few pints with friends and colleagues, and after so many kind words from those around me, it is time to stand on that ledge and look down. It looks a long way down from here. The wind is blowing (must shut that window) and the future is whatever the future will be.

I won’t be without something to do, as there is a crime thriller to sort out and finish. I could be doing that now if I wasn’t writing this. A hitman is waiting my attentions, a hitman who kills to escape a life on benefits. And a journalist who goes in search of a story and loses her children. Some dodgy politicians. A very dodgy nationalist leader. Oh, there’s a lot going on. And tomorrow I shall sit down and carry on conjuring.

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