I do work. I am quite wired from caffeine, and my brain appears to be functioning at capacity, which is not always the case. Even though I am a little fuzzy on the next part of the plot, I let my fingers go. They run wildly over the keyboard, racing to keep up with the words in my head.
Writing sometimes is like this. I sit down, not much idea where I am going, or what happens next, and the fingers seem to know better than my conscious mind. As this is first draft, I trust them, and let them loose.
And, quite quickly, there are 1082 words. There are 1082 words where there were not any before. There are new, invented sentences, coming out of my mind. I am used to that, because it is what I have been doing most days for twenty years, but it is still rather a curious thing, now I sit and think about it.
The oddness about this job is that there are days when I have everything mapped out, and know exactly what the next chapter must contain, and have a proper plot point to develop. Those are the days when I feel professional and organised. And yet, it is often on those smart days that the fingers stall and stutter and it feels as if my brain is filled with treacle. Sometimes the not knowing, the slight uncertainty, the amateur goofiness, can be liberating; it is then that the words fall out easily, without strain. It’s a very lovely thing when that happens and I never take it for granted.
I listen to music as I work. When my darling old dog was in her final days, I made a playlist for her, in a determined twist of the entirely irrational. I have no idea if dogs can recognise or even appreciate music, but she was fading, and I wanted her to have Mozart and Chopin and Bach and Rachmaninov. After she had gone, I would listen to it and it would make me cry. Now, I use it for work.
Mozart is very good for work. Just at the moment I write this, I am listening to Symphony number 33, in B Flat. I like the fact that I am converting the associations of that playlist from grief to production. It is turning into a hopeful, useful thing rather than a melancholy one.
Outside, the light has turned deep amber, and is stretching into my room, glancing over my desk. The trees beyond my window are made rose pink, and the Scottish granite of the walls is the colour of honey.
I am hungry because I was writing so hard I forgot my lunch.
Stanley the Lurcher is asleep on the sofa. Apart from the Mozart, everything is perfectly quiet and still.
I think: I must record the news. I must see what is going on in the world, on this interesting date. I must not just write the details of my tiny life. But there must be food first, and then time to do the horses, and then a general gathering of wits. (The wits are always scattered after a big writing session, as if I have wrung out every inch of my brain, so that there is no working part left.)
Then, after that, there shall be News.
The afternoon light:
This is a terrible picture, but it has Stanley the Lurcher peeking out over a pot of white heather, which I’m afraid must be recorded for posterity:
Where the work gets done:
And what I can see from the top right window there:
Light on the Portuguese laurel, practically the only thing in my garden which still looks splendid:
Panorama from my front door, looking south: