Apr 11 11
It could have been the two consecutive days of sunshine. It could have been a desperate need to escape from dark moments when the novel-in-waiting couldn’t hustle its place between meetings about the Divan writer’s celebration, about the radio programme. about a new publishing venture. It could have been because of promised evaluations for writers or the planning for this Wednesday’s launch of An Englishwoman in France
Whatever it was, I simply couldn’t get on with my new novel. Now I have to tell you it’s my fine boast that I can usually do this among the sturm und drang of everyday life. I often tell new writers that the writing has to be the first thing you do, your prime project.
But the problem was that I’d actually resorted to thinking that, so save time, I could skip the hand- drafting and jump to working straight onto the machine. After all I wrote reams on the machine to service other aspects of my life. And I’d lost two ink-pens and the time to go and replace them was very fugitive.
So it was that my time to create was bundled up with all the other tasks (including blogging); tied by a kind of umbilical cable to the computer.
But my precious story – it seemed – was having none of that. She was sitting on the windowsill kicking her heels muttering, when-you’re-ready, when-you’re-ready.
Then one day my A4 drafting book fell off the table in the little study. I flicked through the pages and admired the inky flow of my own writing and the energy of those paragraphs before they were transcribed onto the computer.
In a second, it seems, I was in Ryman’s choosing a new ink-pen and a fresh bottle of ink. Then the sun came out and when I got home my story was sitting on the garden table ready to flow out of the bottle onto the page of the A4 book. All that day and the next and the next… Whoosh! Talk about the genie springing out of the bottle! Pure magic.