Time is what I’m giving myself here in Menerbes. Not just time to write, but time to do nothing. Time to observe this ancient place, its history, culture and the people who live here, but also time to observe my reactions to it. The time to watch this car patiently hold back for ten minutes while the old lady on the stick walked to the top of the hill.
Although it was 12 degrees celsius again today and the wind was chilly from the north, the sun still carried heat. Our terrace faces south and was like a little piece of Australian winter.
This afternoon I ran out of pages in my notebook. Ten minutes later my new pen ran out of ink. I sat out in the sun drowsing and mused on the idea of ‘lack.’ Lack of pen and notebook. Which led to cold being the lack of heat, but how heat is not the lack of cold. Or that indifference is the lack of emotion – love or hate – but love isn’t a lack of indifference. And in this musing about nothing a story that was forming in my mind over the past week took on the shape that looked suspiciously like a novel.
I laughed at myself because I am a short story writer. I’m not a novelist.
In a new notebook and with another new pen I started writing. A girl emerged from behind the old stone walls, turning a corner in the cobblestone street, in the half shuttered windows. I only glimpsed her. I know if I keep writing about the place, about the things I see and feel and think, she will come out of hiding bit by bit.