Posted by Tania Kindersley.
There is something happening in the world, but I do not exactly know where or what. It is one of those days when the news swims out of one’s brain like a salmon. It is a bit of a gritted teeth day.
‘How are you getting on with your book?’ asks the kind Stepfather, as he comes to take The Pigeon for a walk. (There are some writers who consider this the cruellest question of all.)
‘Spinning my wheels a bit,’ I say, ruefully.
I am quite rueful generally. I would like to be filled with determination and optimism and certainty; at the moment, I am mostly about the rue. I keep wanting to butch myself up, to get more dogged and muscular. Instead, I seem mired in the ephemeral.
Outside, the temperature is minus four. The frost glitters and glimmers. It is that good, proper, thick frost, that does not melt, even after a day of sun on it. It makes the trees look like something out of a painting. A couple walks past. The man is on crutches, struggling a bit. ‘Good afternoon,’ I say. They look rather surprised.
I am always grinning at people in the street and saying things like ‘Lovely day’. I can’t help it. It is not really The British Way. It can actually frighten some Britons. I like it; I like tiny threads of connection.
Mostly, people stare at me as if I have some kind of condition. Sometimes I do think I have some kind of condition. Another bloody vital document must be sent somewhere, because I must prove who I am. I loathe having to prove who I am. I find it an existential affront. Why can I not speak to a human and explain who I am, and why can they not believe me? Do I sound like an evil criminal mastermind posing as a rather disorganised writer?
Of course, I cannot find the vital document, cannot face going down to the doctor to get it counter-signed even when I do locate it, because only if you understand the intricacies of ringworm do you count as a proper signing person (no members of my family will do, apparently), and have flown into a huge grump about the whole thing. Why, I wonder, can I not just be the kind of spit-spot human who has all vital documents to hand, in convenient box files, arranged in alphabetical order, with the doc on speed dial? (I know I ask you this question a lot.)
Ah well, on I bugger. My post-Christmas malaise continues, fading in and out like radio static. I catch glimpses of the prize of delight. I just need to make a breakthrough with this second draft. I am stumbling about the edges, looking for a way in. I can almost see it. Some mornings, when I clean my teeth and think about the day, I have intimations. It is that, or that, or this? It slips away like quicksilver.
I’ll get it in the end. I am cussed and do not give up. It’s just I do not like this stop-start; this slight feeling of bafflement. It comes with every book; I always forget that. There is a moment when you look at the thing and think: I have no idea what I am trying to say. That’s why it is work, I suppose. And that’s probably just as well. It if were easy, then everyone would do it.
Pictures of the day:
Oh, the amber eyes:
Sometimes, oddly, they are dark, opaque blue. But this afternoon, with the last of the light in them, they are bright amber:
I do not wish to alarm you, but it appears the hill is on fire. It's only the burning of the heather, something that is done around here all the time. It's just I never saw it on my hill before, and it does look rather apocalyptic: