Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Two days to deadline.
New words written: 2,434. This is very, very naughty and silly. I should be concentrating on the semi-colon edit, not fannying about with whole new sections. I am in that moment of irrational panic where I say to myself: what, what? No mention of the new conflation of beauty with perfection? Come on.
Crazy total word count: 106,880. Why? Why?
Hours of editing: 3. Luckily, I was quite close to the end.
Idiotic editing task of the last two days: replacing double spaces after colons and full stops with a single space. Because I learnt to touch-type on an actual typewriter, I imbibed the double space rule. I still tend to do it automatically. It is house style at no publishing outfit or newspaper. There are people who openly scoff at it. It takes quite a lot of concentration to go through 106,880 words, looking for extraneous spaces.
Motherly thing my mother said: Darling, you must go to bed with chicken soup.
Morning sanity check: The Beloved Cousin calling and just being wonderfully funny and normal. The voices in my head at this stage are studiedly abnormal, as if they are having a little joke with me.
Person on the internet I now shamelessly love: the incredibly kind Deanna Raybourn, who wrote something unbelievably generous about me on her blog. (I’m such a cheap date: if a person tells me my prose sounds effortless, I shall build a willow cabin at their gate. In the strictly metaphorical and Shakespearean sense, of course.)
Thing that lifted my heart: Brahms. 3rd Symphony, very loud, most of the afternoon.
Faithful creature of the day: The Pigeon, who lay quietly by my side as I wrestled and wrangled with the manuscript, never once complaining about the distinct lack of ball throwing.
Pithy comment of the day: was uttered by the plumber. My boiler was going a bit mad, and so the lovely plumber dropped everything to come and fix it. I love the plumber, and grin like a loon every time he enters the house. I think he is mildly fond of me, although I suspect he thinks I am a bit of an idiot on account of my blatant lack of any practical skills. He asked about the book. I said: It’s 106,000 words now. He grinned, an ironical gleam in his eye, and said in his dry, Aberdeenshire accent: ‘Not all the same ones, I hope.’
Tiny thing of the day: a sudden imperative to switch the word 'that' for 'which'. I know it makes a difference.
Random act of kindness: came from my neighbour. My ceiling sprung a leak just after breakfast. It is the kind of thing I cannot deal with on the best of days; certainly not when my brain is stretched as thin as paper. The neighbour arrived, took charge, put a special miner’s lamp on his head, crawled up into the loft through a tiny hatch, inspected the leak, divined the boiler problem, called the plumber himself, and just now, came back to check everything was all right. I ran out of words for thank you.
News I missed: it appears that the Secretary of Defence has resigned. No idea why.
General loveliness award of the week goes to: the Dear Readers. In this state of emotional and intellectual exhaustion, I am prone to sentimentality. But your kind cheerleading over the last two weeks has brought a tear to my eye, and that’s the truth of it.
Today's pictures, in brief:
It was the most beautiful sunny day. This is what the hill looked like on our morning walk:
Off went The Pigeon, waving her tail like a banner:
Lying in the dew, in contemplative mode:
The autumn trees:
The last of the marjoram:
So tired now my eyes are crossing. Cannot read this again to see if it makes any sense. Hope that at least some of the commas are in the right place.