Some days, the words fly out of the ends of my fingers as if someone has sent them by post. I quite often wonder where the words come from. When they are flowing easily, I feel that I can take no credit for them. They appear and I transcribe them and that is all.
Of course my rational self knows that the words arrive because I have been thinking and pondering and cogitating, so that by the time I sit down to the physical act of typing all those thoughts are queuing up to go into language.
The irrational self says: bloody hell, where did that come from?
Lately, I’ve been on a roll. Even on the grumpy days, those dear words were there, available to me, ready to rumble. I’ve been racking up massive counts, and even though I know it is not about the numbers, and quantity does not always trot along with quality, there was a humming satisfaction in that.
Today, I sat down and had to dig the damn words out with a spoon. I did not really know what I wanted to say. I could not find the correct adjective, and I love a correct adjective. The prose had no flight in it, but was dourly and resolutely earthbound.
Keep typing, keep typing, said the stern Mary Poppins voice in my head. Spit spot.
So I did, because I can’t write only when I have inspiration in me. The whole point of being a professional, if I can use that word without falling down laughing, is that I write on the bad days and the low days and the stupid days. I can’t just wait for the magic to happen. I have to bash on when there is no stardust.
I think this is a bit of a lesson for life. I’m a huge believer in bashing on, even when I would much rather give up and hide behind the sofa.
Down in the field, new birds are arriving all the time, the living embodiment of spring. I am not a twitcher, and I can hardly tell my great tit from my warbler, but I love the birds even if I don’t know what their names are. ‘Hello, hello’ I say out loud, to the happy visitors, as if I were an ambassadress at a diplomatic reception. The person who pitched up today, looking very fine, was, it turned out, a female chaffinch. (I looked her up on the RSPB bird identifier.) She was so splendid that I was slightly disconcerted to find that she is ‘the second commonest breeding bird’. I felt rather cross on her behalf. There was nothing common about her. As I watched her perch on the fence and flash her tail I thought she looked entirely remarkable and not at all ordinary.
The mares are happy, covered in mud, still holding on to their winter coats just in case, still looking more like Exmoor ponies than descendents of Northern Dancer. I did some made-up dressage with my red mare today, and she was majestic. ‘Those transitions,’ I exclaimed. She nodded her wise head. She knows all about transitions.
And today is Annie Power day, as my favourite racing mare comes to Aintree fresh from her triumphant romp in the Champion Hurdle. Any day that is Annie Power day is like Christmas morning for me.
So there were many good things. But there were no good words. I bished and boshed and bullied them out, and they fell flat and sullen onto the page.
Better tomorrow, I told myself, a little rueful and chastened. Tomorrow, the words will wake up and sing.