Write it down, write it down, say the voices in my head.
The ones which have suddenly decided that since I was forty-nine on Saturday, it is now my absolute duty to record every moment of the year before I am fifty.
I don’t really know why. Because it is a milestone; because life is whistling by my ears; because I am terrified that I shall get to that big age and say ‘Where did all the time go and why did I not do more with it and what is the point of it all anyway?’
If it is written down, at least I shall have 365 pages of something, that exist, like proofs that I was here. Or something.
I don’t really understand it, but those voices are very shouty, so even though I am tired and my brain has fizzled out like the kind of old wiring that electricians suck their teeth over, I’m writing it bloody well down.
There was sleet and a wild, biting wind. Despite this, I got on my horse first thing because I love her and I miss her and I’m fed up with letting the weather come between us. She was not especially impressed, particularly when we reached the top of the field and found horizontal sleety rain in our faces and a wind as bitter as Sarah Palin. (She really is very, very bitter. I know she thinks she is perky, but I sense bitterness.) Then the little brown mare came roaring up the slope as if to say what the hell are you two doing? so we all trundled back down together. I felt like something out of the Green Grass of Wyoming, riding one horse with one hand and herding another.
Then it was work work work work. There was a small pause for dog dog, as Stan the Man and Darwin the Dog went outside in the weather and wrestled about like Alan Bates and Oliver Reed. (Sometimes I have to avert my eyes.) Then more work work work. Then a visit to the vet, which went completely awry when Stanley escaped the locked car, dashed across Station Square, let himself into the vet’s office and stared balefully at Darwin and me, waiting politely for the second puppy vaccination. Everyone thought it was hysterical.
I braved the wind and fed the horses and then there was more work.
All this mad activity is because I had another deadline. I’ve given up talking about deadlines, because this is now the fifth time I’ve reworked this book and I’ve started to believe it shall never be finished. The agent, who is discerning and brilliant, never lets me off the hook. So there has been restructuring, a change of emphasis, two complete re-writes, and I don’t really know how many polishes. I can’t see straight or focus my eyes or decide if it is any good or not.
One day, if I am very lucky, it might be published by an actual publisher and go into an actual bookshop and be read by actual humans. Then I have to worry about whether anyone will buy it. But that is long in the future, and as I drove back from the shop tonight after doing some errands I thought: best hope is that it might be quite good. I have got very slick at managing my ambitions.
This is all quite dull, say the critical voices. Is this the best you can do for your last year in your forties? Could you not give it a bit of va va voom?
No, I bloody well couldn’t. Some days have no voom. Some days are very ordinary and quite tiring and entirely pedestrian. I can’t do a tap dance to order.
Today was just what it was. It was cold, and I got some stuff done. Some days, that has to be enough.