Author’s note: I’m all played out today, and I have absolutely no idea whether any of this makes any sense. For some bizarre reason of my own, I’m pressing publish anyway, on the off chance.
500 new words. I’m supposed to be killing darlings, and instead I write a whole new scene. I shall never learn. The book, which I want to make shorter, grows longer by the day. Too many notes, Herr Mozart, too many notes.
And yet, as I read it and re-read it and look for the places where I may plunge in the knife, I find myself liking this curious world I have created, and wanting to stay there. Perhaps it is not such a disaster after all. If the story does not bore me witless, even though I’ve read it now about nine times, perhaps it may not bore others.
I think: ah, the greatest of great British fears. The terror of being a bore.
Outside, there are furious gales and bitter sleet. The horses are all rugged up, with their hay in nets so it will not blow into the next county. We all dream, a little sadly, of spring. The roads to Tomintoul and Glenshee are closed, the snow gates up, and the weather feels unrelenting and heartless. I’m normally fairly good about weather, but today it has battered me into submission.
To cheer myself up, I go to the chemist and have a nice conversation about evolutionary biology.
I come home, finish my work, and attempt to scrape up an interesting or original thought for the blog. I fail.
Should I just forget the whole thing? There is no rule which says there must be words. Actually, there is a great, shouty voice in my head which insists there always must be words. A day without words is a day lost. This is absurd, of course. Yet words are my amulets. Sometimes, even the physical act of tapping at the keyboard, making black marks on a screen where there was only blankness, causes my spirits to rise. Sometimes, my mazy mind is so blurred that it does not quite believe reality exists until it is written down.
Then another voice, a quite stern, matter-of-fact, forgiving one says: this is the whole point. Every day can’t be Doris Day. Every word cannot dazzle. This blog is an ordinary account of the ordinary life of an ordinary female. That is sort of the whole point. It’s not show tunes and jazz hands. In a world of glossy magazines and urgent media and the rush and dash of the internet, ordinariness does not get much press. In my wild youth, I despised it. One must reach for the extraordinary, not settle for the quotidian, the banal, the mundane. Now I am older and more bashed and more inclined to cherish love and trees, I think: perhaps the secret of the whole shooting match is finding the joy in the ordinary. On a day when the Oscars are announced, and all is red carpets and glittering prizes, I’m flying the flag for the usual, the unremarkable – for earth and weather and hay and the red mare and work and green soup and a good dog with a big stick.
No camera today, on account of the weather. Here are a few shots from sunnier days:
Just as I was finishing this, the Older Brother’s Best Beloved sent me some pictures she had taken with her new lens. I was incredibly touched she took the time. This is one of my favourites. I’d just finished working the mare on the ground and am giving her a gentle scratch of congratulation. She is wearing the expression I love the most – dozy donkey ears, soft eye, mouth as near as dammit to an equine smile. It is not dressage. It is not the Horse of the Year show. It is not winning the Oaks, which is what she was bred for. It is very, very ordinary. And it fills my heart like nothing else.