Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Book Like The Other

Something slightly strange has happened. I have written nine thousand words in two days.
The purists would furrow their brow at this. Normally, when you are writing at that rate, the words are rotten gimcrack things, no good to man nor beast. But the funny thing is that they are not that bad at all. At least they are words, shining happily at me from the screen.

The grief for my mother, although it is good, straightforward grief, not too twisted with regret or angst, and it has come out in great untrammelled gusts, has knocked me to the floor. I have been doing a lot of pretend work. (Must get on; must not make a fuss; have to pay for the hay.) This consisted of fairly pointless typing and a lot of bonkers new proposals and the fragmented beginnings of what were supposed to be dazzlingly brilliant ideas, but weren't. In the last two days, I received a blow, a rejection. We love your writing but this book is not quite right for us. Oh, the number of times I have heard that before. You would think that what with the sorrow and the missing of mum and the thin skin (I think the death of a beloved strips you of a layer of skin, leaving you scalded and defenceless) I would be on the floor, in the foetal position. Amazingly, not a bit of it.

I feel that I may sound a bit self-congratulatory – look at me, rising from the ashes like a buggery old phoenix – but I can’t take credit for it. It just happened. Instead of being knocked flat, I listened to the next sentence. We are however looking for a book like the other. The Book Like The Other happened to be right in my wheelhouse. In fact, there may be almost no other goofy, middle-aged lady writer in dear old Blighty more equipped to write The Book Like The Other. So I started writing it.

36 hours later, I have nine thousand words.

I’m not doing Christmas this year. (Don’t be doleful; it’s a free and liberating choice. Also: I have a plan. Also: lots of Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs and anarchists don’t do Christmas and are perfectly happy. Actually, I may be wrong about the anarchists. But I suspect they would find all that shopping irredeemably bourgeois.) So I’m going to write a new book instead. I admit that was not in the plan, but it damn well is now. Scribble, scribble, scribble, eh Mr Gibbon?

The other amazing thing is that Darwin the Dog has decided to support me in this faintly bonkers new strategy by turning into a saint overnight. I cannot tell you how good and easy he has been today. It has helped that I have discovered the power of the crate. I like to see animals running free and I rather resisted what I saw as a horrid little cage. He, it turns out, sees it as a reassuring little nest. I suspect it’s like swaddling a baby. Into it he goes, with his sheepskin rug and his toys and there is not a peep out of him. Every hour on the hour we go for pee time and play time and love time and then it’s into the heavenly nest and I go back to my crazed typing. Hurrah. Perhaps I will not after all go mad in the night and wake up to find that I believe I am Queen Marie of Roumania. (I’m also drinking a lot of special green drink with turmeric and spirulina, which I suspect helps. Although I slightly ruined this health regime by having a Scotch egg for my lunch. Perhaps this means I am going to wake up and find I believe I am at Abigail's Party.)

In other words: today is a much, much brighter day. Tomorrow might not be, but I cherish the brightness as it falls. 


  1. Puppies *are* work, but worth it to get the dog you want. Or so I remind myself on the inevitable late night/ungodly hours of the morning toilet run. Especially when you bring said puppy home during winter. It's a bit easier in summer.

    And crates are magical. Our bull terrier adores his and often lies in it, belly to the world. Plus it saved my sanity during his puppyhood.

    Welcome Darwin, you've fallen on your feet :)

  2. Love this! Your energy is through the roof and Delicious Darwin has found his feet. xx


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