My mind was thrown back to 1990, coming round from the anaesthetic after having my abortion, and that overwhelming sense of failure, failure as a human being and failure as an artist. If only I had known then that I would have my drawings hanging up in the Tate; not giant dominant works of art, but delicate, spindly line drawings that are so recognisably mine.
This morning, my friend emailed me, saying: "I met a 58-year-old woman who was very happy, really genuinely deep-rootedly happy, and I said to her: 'Why?' And she said, 'Because I have never had an abortion, that's why I can live without having children'. She said she had tried to have kids but had never got pregnant."
I emailed him back, saying: "My Dad said I must never have another abortion, because after three you start going mad. I've had two and I'm borderline. As it is, no one has ever wanted to have a child with me.
"Makes me feel cynical when I think about making love, and I sometimes have to ask: what is love? I would have been so much happier had I not had the abortions, but I truly believe that I would have been so much unhappier if I had had the children."
"failure as an artist"?
It reminds me of something.
It reminds me of a Mass I went to on Sunday night at St. Peter's. There was some Cardinal celebrating. It was all in Italian (and it was the NO) so I didn't trouble myself much over trying to understand his homily. But I certainly recognised the style. He liked very much the sound of his own voice booming out of the speakers and bouncing off all the marble of that enormous place. He liked to start soft...softysoftysofty...then would suddenly and dramatically start booming his main point...followed by softysoftysofty...Boombooombooommmm BOOOMMM...
And he went on in this vein for a good fifteen minutes, while I struggled with the urge to start shouting. ("Can we go now?" "No." "What if I were to start shouting, could we go then?")
I thought, 'No, I don't really need to understand the words. I know perfectly well what he is saying.'
He was saying the same thing this strange woman is saying about the aftermath of having murdered her children: