‘Say something interesting,’ shout the voices in my head.
‘Hmm,’ says the writing voice, which has run out of ideas. ‘What kind of thing?’
‘You know,’ shout the furious voices, ‘something wise and true about life. A universal truth or something.’
I think and think and think. I can’t really find anything interesting. Today, I have nothing of interest in my brain whatsoever. The only thing I can come up with is that a job is much more fun if you do it with someone else. And this is only because my kind friend helped with the haynets this morning as the storm raged in and she was so funny that she turned a chore into a pleasure. Also, it’s not always true. Some jobs are more fun on your own. So I can’t even say that is a universal verity.
The winds have blown across the hills from the west and there are bitter flurries of snow. The horses hunker down with their usual stoicism and the dogs race around in keen delight. The dogs are tough boys and don’t give a damn about weather; the wilder the better for them.
I don’t like the winds. They make me jangly and I’m always thinking the internet is about to go down and what would I do if I did not have one more Trump outrage to read about and chunter over? (I’m still convinced he is doing all the lunatic things he is doing for a bet.) These are the dog days of January and I feel a bit fed up generally. When I sit down to work my brain does not dance and sing but feels as if it is wading through mud. My critical judgement is surly and blunted. I can’t tell what to keep and what to chuck. Is that a good sentence? Or not? Who can tell? I should be editing at a hundred miles an hour but instead I squint at the screen and think slow thoughts which don’t have much substance to them.
I’m getting better at the grumpy days as I get older. I used to see them as a mark of moral failure. How dare I feel out of sorts when there are people who don’t have shoes? Now I accept that I can’t do a tap dance every day. As long as I don’t take out the grumpiness on hapless bystanders, then it is perfectly allowed. All the same, the ruthlessly cheery voices in my head start chattering. You have a roof over your head, they say, with a sliver of reproach; and sweet horses and sweet dogs and a shed full of the good hay and heating that works and chicken soup simmering on the stove and the ability to type. So, say the chirpy voices, it can’t be that bad.