When I sat down to write this, it was four forty-seven in the afternoon. My brain was stretched and smoked from five hours of editing and cutting, the writing of 721 new words, the rearranging of hundreds of others. My back hurt. I had a slight sense of pressure on the top of my head. My teeth, I am ashamed to admit, were a tiny bit gritted.
I was writing to do lists which said mysterious things like: perfection section; finish culture (because clearly the culture must be finished); rework media chapter; happy hat. That last one is a very technical edit, practised only by the recondite. Actually, it's when the co-writer thinks I am too lost in rant, and have forgotten my sense of humour. 'Do a happy hat edit,' she says, sternly. This is the thing about being British. You may make a serious point, but only if you do it with a joke. It's all there, somewhere in our unwritten constitution.
Anyway, I had the strong sense that I had literally run out of words. There was nothing left. I'll just have to give them pictures, I thought. But I hate just giving you pictures. I feel that if you get no prose, you are entitled to ask for your money back. (You may see that the irrational has firm hold of me now, has clamped me in its slavering jaws and is about to drag me back to its cave.)
Also, it is a horrid day outside, so I have not even taken any pictures, because it is too dreich.
Bugger, I thought.
I'll just do a little internet noodle, I thought, to take my mind off it.
And there, waiting for me, like a shining star, was this:
To sum it all up, if you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.
You must write every single day of your life.
You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.
You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.
I wish for you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime.
I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you.
May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories—science fiction or otherwise.
Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
It's by Ray Bradbury, and I found it on the always excellent Advice to Writers website, which really lives up to its name.
Ray, I thought, bless you and all who sail in you. I smiled wildly at the screen. I especially liked the bit about sniffing books in libraries. I was in the library this morning, with the smiling librarian, who always asks after the progress of the book. I wondered what she would make of the sniffing.
It was so good, I went back and read it again.
Yes, I thought. That's right. That's how it should be.
On account of the rain, the pictures are from the last few days:
Hill, from a different angle than usual: