Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I woke very tired this morning. It never stops amazing me how enervating mental work can be. I tell myself, when I am shattered after a day of typing: oh, for God's sake, you are not working down a mine. I have an awed respect for people who do manual jobs. I look at the soldiers in Afghanistan, and, quite apart from the physical danger of their work, what astonishes me is how they carry heavy packs and wear full armour in forty degree heat. So I always feel like the most terrible fraud when I declare myself exhausted after a bit of poxy writing.
Also, unlike you mothers and wives out there, I do not have children to tidy up after, or another half to tend. I do not have to go to corporate events and be charming to dull people. I do not have to give presentations or have meetings or calculate budgets. I do not have to commute round the M25, cursing the traffic. All I have to do is write one little book, and take the dogs for a walk, and have my daily chat with my dear old mum. I really am the most awful powder puff.
Anyway, today I was pathetically tired. The last three days of crazed writing spurt had pulled every last atom of energy out of me.
'Oh yes,' Sarah said, laughing, when she called yesterday and I told her of the hundreds of words. 'You are in your manic phase. People can set clocks by it.'
I thought: I'll take the day off. My rule is that I must work six days a week. The day of rest is usually Saturday or Sunday, but sometimes I take a naughty weekday and then write over the weekend.
I'll just go and look at the internet, I thought. My idea of a day off is not to go to the beach, but to indulge in an orgy of political geekery. I can catch up on all those American politics shows I love so much, and watch The Daily Politics on the iPlayer. (Sometimes I really do wonder that I reveal all these dark secrets to you. Sometimes I wonder that you don't all run away screaming, or at least laughing and pointing.) Once at the computer, with a huge pot of coffee at my side, I thought: perhaps I'll just have a fleeting glance at what I did yesterday.
It wasn't too bad. It wasn't Mrs Woolf, but it was not shaming. Some of the tiredness receded. I felt my brain start clicking into gear. Perhaps I'll just do a hundred words, I thought, for the hell of it. I'll do a quick, crafty hundred, and then there will be something to mark the day.
I chose a section that did not need any research, so I would not have to stop to look things up. I just let a bit of a theory develop. I like making things up on the hoof; later I can go back and see if they make any sense or not.
Two hours later I had 1200 words.
I thought: it's all very well, this lashing and planning and forcing and demanding. Maybe sometimes we need to fool our minds just a little. Perhaps there are days when we get more done if there is not a twelve-point plan. Once I gave myself permission not to do anything, I got rather a lot done. I can't work out if that is a profound life lesson, or if it is just me, with my idiotically contrary nature.
Outside, big white clouds are falling away behind the Wellingtonias, to reveal the first blue sky we have seen for two weeks. The swallows are performing a pas de deux, flying low over the bright grass. There is absolute quiet. My mind goes blank again. But that's all right, because I did my words.
No new pictures today, so here are some from the last couple of weeks, all collaged up:
You know I love almost nothing more that a bit of moss and lichen, so here is a little festival of both:
Finally, all the blues and all the mauves, my favourite colours after green:
Have a happy Thursday.
PS. When I say wives and mothers, don't think I am ignoring the husbands and fathers and the work they do. I know that most of my dear readers are women, and I may be sometimes guilty of assuming an entirely female sensibility, if there even is such a thing. When Sarah and I wrote Backwards, we did think it would probably be of most interest to women, but one of the nicest reviews we ever had was from a seventy-something man called Arthur on Amazon. It was particularly touching to us, because it was rather a surprise. In the same way, I do tend to think of this blog as a gathering of women, and I always get a tremendous fillip of surprise and delight when I have a gentleman caller. Especially during the World Cup.
Not that I would ever stoop to stereotyping, but you boys are all biologically programmed to think of nothing else but football for the next three weeks.