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:
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: