Friday, 14 October 2011

Very, very nearly there

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:

14 Oct 1

Off went The Pigeon, waving her tail like a banner:

14 Oct 2

Lying in the dew, in contemplative mode:

14 Oct 3

The autumn trees:

14 Oct 4

The last of the marjoram:

14 Oct 5

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.


  1. I love this post and the pictures, too! I will be back.

  2. The plumber's comment about the words is priceless! Can't you leave the semi-colon edit to copy editors? Good luck with the next hours.

  3. I so look forward to reading the book, and even more so for feeling 'part of the process' having read all your posts!

    You have some lovely people around you; that's wonderful and you're fortunate. And I'm delighted that the enthusiasm and affection of your readers has such an effect on you. Your readers' writing cheers you up in a small way, just as your writing brightens our day in such a great way - that makes my day.

  4. I love the tail in the air zooming away picture :)
    Sending deadline hugs - stripey of course.

  5. Thanks to your reference about Deanna, I got (nearly) lost down a rabbit hole links, each more edifying than the previous.
    Bottom line (which I so needed to hear, yet again): "To thine own self be true."
    And, from reading you today, the gentle reminder to take pleasure in ALL things, however seemingly "small" (quotation marks very intentional).
    Thank YOU!

    PS The "interesting" box doesn't begin to cover this!


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