For the past fifteen days the words have been in flood. My pens keep running out of ink and my second notebook is almost full. The images, metaphors and scenes are damming up, coming so fast I can’t keep up.
Today’s plan was this:
1. Write until 12.
2. Sunday lunch at the restaurant a 60 foot journey from our front door.
3. Write until dinner.
You know those writing sessions when from the first sentence it’s obvious the words are not going to behave. They won’t say what they mean. They make the sentences chunky and flat, with as much rhythm as new born puppy.
The more I wrote today the worse it got. Oh, there were words. My usual method is to start writing and keep the pen going. I write my way into things. This morning I filled the pages with the most banal lifeless writing it was possible to produce. Not once did I click over into that phase where the writing takes over and you disappear into it.
So what did I do?
I did what all writers do. I wondered what the hell I was doing here pretending to be a writer? Who was I kidding? If I wanted evidence of how bad I was I just had to look at this crap.
Then I remembered reading an interview with Helen Garner. She had those times when she felt like a fake, when all she wanted to do was curl up in bed with her shame. When that happened she stopped writing, went to a movie, did something that got her away from it.
So I made a cup of coffee and ate an almond navette. Then I went to lunch. I had two courses – seafood salad and a 7-hour roasted lamb shank, if you’re interested – and half a bottle of red wine that came from the vines at the bottom of the hill.
Afterwards I had a two hour afternoon nap and then I watched Australia thrash Argentina in the Rugby World Cup. The Wallabies did a great day’s work.
I’m just having a great day!
That’s the way, Karen – one swallow does not a summer make, nor does one sticky day of writing make you a failure as a writer. I honour the way you practised detachment in the situation and then expressed gratitude for the blessings of a scrumptious meal and a lovely day.
Thanks, Di. I was surprised at how easy it was to walk away from the destruction. Maybe it comes from living in a place where the reminders of the fleetingness of life are everywhere. You want to make the most of every day.
I think perhaps you are trying to push yourself too hard. What happened to “Loose pyjamas” from where I sit I have loved every word of your daily adventures it is as though I am on holiday too. Your descriptions of your scenery gives me the feeling of hidden secrets hidden behind every door. From lovers too smugglers. From religion to torture and murder. I got all that just from what you pass off as a diary. Great work!
Sue, you are absolutely right! I forgot to wear my loose pyjamas. Because I’d slept all afternoon I wasn’t tired last night. So after Ross went to bed I picked up my notebook and wrote without stopping for 2 hours. No more plans and timetables for me!
I’m so thrilled you love to read my posts and they make you feel as if you’re here. Thank you for coming along with me!
Having a great day gives you second wind to blow your craft wherever you choose to go. thanks again for taking us on your journey.
I love the way you described the second wind, Marg. And thank you so much for coming along with me. My second wind blew strong last night when everyone else was asleep. You’re absolutely right that a great day is the best thing for picking you up, dusting you off, ready to go again.
Sometimes I find that my best ideas come when I’m doing something else than writing. As a good idea flashes across my mind I almost have to grab the fleeting thought by the tail and tackle it so it doesn’t get away from me. Its then I need to grab a piece of paper and scribble it down, then I sit down and write and see what comes.
That’s a great way to write, Maree! Those ideas can be very slippery. It’s in the living that we find material for writing. For me the sitting down to write it out is where the idea blossoms into something deeper and richer.