I find myself in a sudden work storm. I’ve been searching about for the impetus to go ahead with a new project. The problem is that I had four on the go. One is an old one, half finished, to which I could go back. One is new, just started. One exists, but needs a huge amount of editing and reworking and ordering and I’m not convinced it is viable anyway. (I think it was one of those ones that sounded good on paper, and does not quite work. Sometimes I have to be ruthless with those ones.) I’ve been dithering about, moving back and forth between all these not entirely satisfactory projects, rather uninspired and feeling as if I were wading through mud. Then, out of the blue, lightning struck and the one I really wanted fell into my head, fully formed. This happens sometimes. I just have to take dictation.
So I started writing it. It’s rather eccentric, like so many of my favourite projects, and I don’t care. It’s rolling out like a great, cresting wave. I’ve done thirteen thousand words in six days. This is an absurd amount of words. Usually, when I’m writing that fast, I go back and find it is all buggery bollocks. But I like these words, as I read them back. Yes, I think, those really are some words.
When a storm hits like this, it takes me out of the world. I turn on the wireless and I hear the news, but my brain does not process the news. I look at my Facebook timeline, where I subscribe to every single site about American politics, British politics, and world news. I read the sentences, but my brain does not process the sentences. I know vaguely that people are very cross about The Daily Mail and Nicola Sturgeon’s legs, that Donald Trump and the Republicans have screwed up their healthcare bill, that Tesco has done something unspeakable, and that everyone is very cross about the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. These things exist in a liminal state, on the edge of my consciousness. Normally, they would be things that would interest me deeply. I’d want to look them up and find out more about them and have informed opinions on them. As it is, they scroll past me as if they are on some kind of blurred tickertape. I’m not even watching the racing. I can’t tell you whether it is Kelso or Market Rasen today or who is running.
All that exists is this book in my head and the ground under my feet and my good animals. The animals become very real in this odd, twilight mental state. They are my anchors to reality. When I walk the dogs or work the mares, they are animate and present and vitally important, pulling me back into the moment. Everything else is glimmering, shimmery shades of grey.