Monday, 14 June 2010

A slightly surprising Monday

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Here is what normally happens at the beginning of the week. I get up, fired with resolution and inspiration and determination. There shall be many thousands of words written today, I think, as I listen to the Today Programme. There shall be no looking to left nor right, but dogged concentration on the task. I shall focus like a laser. There will be no slacking or daydreaming or pondering or wandering off on tangents. It is time for women to be women. It is time to stop buggering about and get cracking. I shall get my fingers moving; perfect sonnets, arias, entire operas of prose shall fall from my typing hands.

I do not dwell on the peril of false expectations.

I take the dogs for a walk. My mind fills up with perfectly fascinating things.

I get in, eat a bacon sandwich, make the strongest black coffee my small silver pot will bear, sit down at my desk, and my mind, only moments ago a giddy carnival of thought, goes instantly blank.

That's all right, I think. I'm a pro, I can take it. Just bash on. Write something, anything, until the engine warms up. There is a little desultory stopping and starting. I'll just have a look at that interesting article I found yesterday, I think. Where did I put it? Perhaps I'd better check that fact, I think. Oh, that looks like a good link. Who knew the University of Minnesota had such excellent material on the evolutionary nature of beauty? Usually, at this point, I find myself looking at a picture of Kristen Stewart, a woman in whom I have no interest, but whose ubiquity on the interwebs is unparalleled in human history.

Sharpen up, I tell myself. I know, I'll do a bit of research. It's no point just writing stuff for the sake of it. I must have stone cold facts. I must be a one-woman encyclopaedia of my chosen subject, until I can bore for Britain on it. This is a dangerous moment, when I am quite likely to become distracted by something about sudden beehive death syndrome, or whatever they call it. I worry about the bees.

Quite soon, it is time for lunch. I contemplate soup. I talk to Sarah. I gaze at the weather, which is inclement.

Eventually, four or five hundred unremarkable words are cranked out. I do a bit more research, to compensate. I make a paltry attempt to organise my bookmarks. (Those bookmarks must stay organised, or there shall be hell to pay.) Tomorrow, I think, tomorrow will be the day I conquer the written word.

The Americans have an expression that I like, even though I do not fully understand the reference. Politics, they like to say, ain't beanbag. I have no idea what beanbag is, but I almost get it onomatopoeically. (It's not strict onomatopoeia, but you know what I mean.) Writing is not beanbag. It's not working in a factory constructing widgets either, which is why I do not complain, only observe the fact of the thing. If it was easy, I think, every damn person would do it. There really is a reason why they do not.

Here is what happened today: I wrote 2819 words. I sat down and started and did not stop. TWO EIGHT ONE NINE. It is positively vulgar. It is preposterous. If I could do cartwheels, I should do them. I feel giddy and light-headed. Remember that moment in Dangerous Liaisons when John Malkovich comes charging up the stone staircase shouting: success, SUCCESS? I feel a bit like that. Except without the ruthless seducing of the virtuous women.

There are days, very occasionally, when things really do go as you plan, and they should be marked.

And now I cannot think any more, so here are some flowers from my garden:


And here is some moss and lichen, because I sometimes think that moss and lichen give me almost more pleasure than writing 2819 words in a sitting:


And here is garden, dogs, flowers, stone wall, Uncle Tom Cobley and all:


And this is inevitable, but you know I cannot help myself, especially on such a banner day:


Now I am going to have a little lie-down.

Except: who exactly was Uncle Tom Cobley? And why do we still use his name? I would go and look it up on the Google, but if I look up one more thing, my head shall explode.


  1. Tania - you do make me smile 'no looking left nor right'...dogged concentration! I have the same some days...whatever work it is we do, we all hit a wall of no inspiration sometimes! Glad your muse returned... Lou x

  2. Well done, you!

    I can almost smell your garden... love your photos.

  3. 2-8-1-9 is seriously impressive. Am a wee bit envious.

    Miss W

  4. Whilst I can't be sure, I have a strong feeling that Uncle Tom Cobley is in fact the brother of Robert Cobley, he of 'Bob's your Uncle' fame.

  5. That *is* a shockingly good amount of writing. And now I am craving a bacon sandwich, with a dash of lime marmalade for spice.

  6. So sorry I have hopelessly not said thank you for these lovely comments. They are always so much appreciated, and make me smile.

    And Goonerjamie - excellent Bob's your Uncle tip.


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