Tuesday, 11 October 2011

What day did you say it was?

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Five Days To Deadline.

The Co-Writer calls. She is having a perfectly awful time, involving children’s fingers in doors, a stolen car, a midnight dash to hospital, and other brutish afflictions.

‘Poor you,’ I say. ‘Oh dear.’

There is an awful part of me that is thinking: but there are only five days left. I should be filled with human sympathy, but the book demons are yelling in my head.

‘No really,’ I say, trying to sound like a decent person. ‘That’s awful.’

Graham Greene said that all writers have a sliver of ice in their heart. I always affected not to understand what he was talking about. Come on, I am all milk of human kindness. Look at me. I send money to Great Ormond Street and care about what is happening in Burma. Now, in awful, truthful middle age, I start to see that he might have had a point.

The Mother sends a kind email. ‘Don’t worry,’ she writes in her stream of consciousness, Jack Kerouac style, ‘Hemingway wrote the last chapter of Farewell to Arms 39 times, darling I am so proud of you.’ Then, as mysterious afterthought: ‘Wondered if you got the bulbs.’

I have no idea what this means. But then it took four and half minutes after I woke this morning to work out which day of the week it was. My best guess was Sunday. Only two days out.

I ruthlessly do not reply. Too much to do. I hear the faint crackle of permafrost in my left ventricle.

I write 1936 new words. The Dead Darlings file now stands at 9217. I avert my eyes from it. Total word count: 103,812. Ah well, I think, if it all turns out to be rubbish, I can always say: never mind the quality, feel the width.

I do four hours of editing. I weed out adjectives as if I am after ground elder. I hunt down the endless use of the word ‘trope’, which seems to be my current favourite. I replace it variously with conceit, which I like, and notion, which I do not. But you can’t just go about repeating yourself until you make people’s eyes bleed.

I am still afflicted by waves of nausea. I don’t care, I think, I am not going to let that bloody bug get me. I make celery soup and spend the day drinking ginger tea, which makes no discernible difference. Never mind, I think. Or rather: all mind. It is mind over matter now, and I know which is going to win.


Minimalist pictures today, on account of the time poverty:

Mint and hydrangea:

11 Oct 4

11 Oct 5

This is not a very good composition; I cropped the poor Pidge off at the knees. But I love this elegant, alert, yet slightly aloof expression:

11 Oct 3


11 Oct 6


  1. You are a bastion of writer's spirit. Fascinating to see this so close up - not the pigeon this time, but the days leading to deadline. Feel the need to go back to the first book and reeducate myself. Won't you be bereft when the deadline has passed? Lou x

  2. Lou - what a lovely thing to say. May be element of bereftness, but of course am already planning three new books in my head.:)

  3. Still cheering over here. With a little bit of Obama - yes, you can!

  4. All good luck with your deadline.

    The Pigeon photo of 9th Oct is the very best one of her laughing!

  5. I'm still left wondering what kind of book this is that you're writing! Fiction? Non-fiction? With words like "trope" it probably isn't a children's book...

    Any hints? I wonder if Pigeon will tell me...

  6. Em - how lovely you are.

    Vivien - thank you, thank you.

    Marcheline - so sorry, I think you did ask before. Sometimes I get behind on comments. It's a book about all aspects of female beauty in the 21st century. But of course the Pigeon COULD have told you that, only I won't let her use the computer. :)


Your comments give me great delight, so please do leave one.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin