Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Five zero two six is my number of the day. That is how many words of book I have written this week. HOT DAMN. I do not want to sound like bragging but I must put this number out, because I had been lingering in a shallow trough all last week. I had too much shame about it to admit: the old voice saying furiously but you are supposed to be a professional, what the hell is wrong with you. Now that there is some achievement I may confess to my fallow period.
The writing mojo is such a mysterious creature that I still cannot quite understand it. In some ways, I should not believe that it exists at all. You can't go all mystical and wait for heavenly inspiration, not if you want to eat. You have to do as one great writer said and make sure you are inspired at nine o'clock sharp each morning. You cannot give in to whim or fancy. You may be haunted by the ghosts of F Scott and the Bohemians in Paris in the thirties, but the writing life cannot all be cabin trunks and parties at the Murphys and red wine in the afternoon. No, no, no; it is a serious job, like any other. There must be order and rigour.
For all that, there are aspects of it that I shall never fully understand. I do not quite understand why some days my head is filled with mud, and on others it is filled with thought. I am not sure I shall ever know what happens between the head and the hand. There is the perfect Platonic paragraph that exists in the brain, but the moment you start to type, its crystal clarity dissipates, and something vital is lost. Someone much cleverer than I once said that after page one it is all damage limitation. He, and I remember it was a he, meant that the ideal book that lives in the mind never quite makes it to the page.
It's probably the truest thing I ever heard about writing. It's why all writers who aspire to anything wander about with a faint look of baffled disappointment on their faces. It is also where the obsession lives; it is the driver that hurls one onwards, because the secret thought is that one day, one day, you will capture that beautiful, perfect thing that shimmers, just out of reach, in your right temporal lobe.
It's a little Quixotic, but I do not mind tilting at windmills, once in a while. No, I do not mind that at all.
In other news, the sun came out. I had grown quite resigned to a week of dreich. The forecast just said cloud, cloud, murk, cloud. But today it was as if the weather got bored of brown and grey, and decided to put on her pomp. There was glittering hoar frost and raging sunshine and skies the colour of sapphires. I ran into my brother-in-law on my morning walk and we talked of family and life and death, three of my favourite subjects. I am sitting now at my desk, looking out over trees dappled with sunlight, listening to Mick Jagger singing you take it, or leave it, it's just my life. I started the week grumpy and Januaryish, baffled by tax and lost pieces of paper, sans energy, sans inspiration, sans everything. There was dark news on the economy and the events in Egypt, where they are beating people in the streets. Everything felt gloomy and drained of light.
I end the week in sunshine, literal and metaphorical. I feel there is a small lesson in there somewhere, but, as usual, I am not sure what it is.
I hope you are having a good Friday, wherever you are.
Photographs of the day are a festival of light and frost and dogs, with extra dogs thrown in, because it is coming up to the weekend, and why not?
The amazing colours of the trees. I do not remember a winter when the trees kept their autumnal tint in this way. Perhaps it is just because I have the miraculous new camera, and I am looking more closely:
The light to the south:
And to the north:
And in the woods:
One perfect frosted leaf:
And speaking of perfect, brace yourselves for FAR TOO MANY dog pictures (cat people - look away now).
Busy, busy, busy; places to go, people to meet:
Duchess in frost:
Pigeon with absolutely enormous stick:
Statutory blurry action shot which I cannot resist:
(Look at her, running like Secretariat in the Preakness.)
And excuse me, I am so beautiful I do not actually know what my name is:
If I gaze at you long enough, might you just turn into a huge BISCUIT? It's either that, or she is doing her Grace Kelly impersonation again. Hard to tell:
And the hill, shimmering and glimmering like the Queen of Sheba: