A Day in the Life of a Writer
I wake to the alarm at 7 am. I often set the alarm wrong because I set it when I am stupefied with weariness and have taken my glasses off. If they always fall off the bed and if I am too tired to find them I don’t look for them before I set the alarm on my phone. It has a very loud ring and makes me feel I will have a heart attack every time it goes off. In fact it scares me so much that I often wake up minutes before it goes off, in self-defense. This would be clever except I then lay there waiting to pounce the second it goes off- why don’t I just switch it off? I am afraid I will fall back asleep. Sometimes I do nod off again and when the alarm goes it is even more terrifying.
Once, up, I check my daughter is up as she has a habit of setting her alarm wrong too or of sleeping through an endlessly repeating alarm until her father goes raging in like a bear awakened untimely from his hibernation to stop the alarm. Sometimes her alarm does not go off. I suspect that in the nightly battle with her sheets and pillows and anyone mad enough to lean over to straighten the covers, the alarm is part of the collateral damage of our sleeping dervish. Once assured she is up, I get her some breakfast, which she mostly eats but sometimes does not touch if she is late and in a hurry. Then she leaves the apartment and goes out into the part of her day that diverges utterly and cleanly from my life, to the extent that I can no longer imagine going up to her school. Nor does she want that, from the tone of horror she gets whenever I suggest dropping something up to her. ‘I will wait on the corner and you can come to me,’ I assure her, knowing that parents are objects of extreme embarrassment to their children, and being an English-speaking parent I rate higher as the equivalent of a contagious leper.
I can only be glad that my daughter seems content at the school, for all it is no more easy for her to go to school that it ever is for anyone. She has long passed the age when she adored school and adored her teacher.
So, she goes off to school to do battle with the lunch ladies, the demanding sports teacher, the boy who kissed her when she was seven and got a punch in the stomach for his effrontery, the ‘barbies’, the ‘bad’ physics teacher and the ever choleric English teacher- yes she has to learn English, though she is a native English speaker. Presumably she is learning something though in all honesty I have yet to see any actual evidence of learning, despite consistently good reports. I think she is smarter than me, but maybe less driven and more insolent, too. I prefer her insolence to my own meek terror.
She goes off into her day leaving me full of these child-mother-child thoughts and wondering if I will ever have the courage to translate them into a story. I want to, but the right vessel has not come along yet. I feel vaguely guilty at being so glad that I don’t have to go to school as an accompanying mother or another child. Then I ruthlessly push her from my mind. So far most days begin pretty much the same way.
Today I settle to finish as much emailing as I can get through by 9 am. An email to a great guy who is working on something I think will end up being an E book that does something no other e-book does so far, and I want to tell him so and tell him some of the things I learned about E books in Bologna. He wants to know what I would like to do, were I working with him. I don’t know yet so I put the half written email in drafts. I respond to a request to appear in parliament to speak on a rights subject dear to my heart. The thought terrifies me and first I said no, but then decided I had better woman up. I need to call the guy, whom I like, but I am phone phobic so I put that email in draft too. I answer a couple of publisher emails and one email asking if I can come to a launch of a book I am in. I answer all of these because they are easy. I feel efficient and oddly content. I don’t know why this stuff should be so pleasurably engrossing for it is tedious. But perhaps it is merely because it is a buffer between me and that great churning maelstrom that is always the book that I am working on, and into which I must soon plunge; whose roar I am beginning to hear. It might also be that a part of me feels this is the only grown up business I conduct in a day.
Come nine or usually a little after, I invoke my Freedom app, downloaded on the advice of a writer friend whom I sometimes meet for coffee. We meet occasionally by appointment but most often by chance, when we have ended up writing in the same café, which we both frequent.
Now that the Freedom app has kicked in I know I cannot get onto the internet for at least 8 hours and a lovely sense of relief and dreamy purposefulness come over me. I open the book file and plunge into writing for a couple of solid hours. I start off a page or two back so I can get a run up into the blank space that is waiting for me half way through chapter 8. This is The Cloud Road and I am working on the first typed draft of a new book. I am no longer reworking material written in notepads. I always start out writing the book longhand, but about two thirds of the way through, having reworked the start a dozen times, I suddenly start typing the book and then I come to the cliff edge that is the end of the hand written notes, and must segue out to the end of the story. I don’t know why but these days I almost never handwrite the end of the story. There is delicious terror and a sense of excitement that sometimes makes me a little nauseous in that freefall towards the end of the first draft.
I sit at the battered kitchen table and type on my laptop. I am very superstitious about many practices connected to writing. I see many things as omens, though I tell myself it is idiotic. Part of me feels writing is a practical and pragmatic activity despite all the mystique, part of me worships and accepts the mystery of it and does not want to pull it apart in case it stops working. I am at the stage of this book when I like it very much. It is an intensely personal activity now - all inward journeying from which I will emerge reluctantly throughout the day. I am taking longer than I expected to write it- this always happens and it always makes me vaguely worried. Yet this is a year I have contrived to have free of looming, difficult impossible deadlines so the only person harrying me is me.
If the writing has gone well, and it is at the moment, I hate to stop but I every other day, I break just before 12, grab my bathers and towel and head off to tram four stops to the nearest swimming pool. Today is a swimming day. Despite not wanting to stop working, I leave the house with a lovely sense of having done a good morning’s work and knowing I will work well after a swim, and will not fall victim to that dull witted sleepiness that often threatens mid afternoon on the days I don’t swim. At the tram stop I notice with a little rush of delight that the tree by the tram stop is covered in pink blossom giving off a delicious scent. I am struck again by how strong scent related memories are- the smell of blossom transports me to my own childhood and to one of my first days in Prague, crossing Petrin hill on foot, when the wind blew filled the air with a little storm of pink blossoms. Then I noticed a girl carrying several long flowering sprigs she had broken off and think how decadent we are to break off the limbs of flowering trees which would give fruit, in a world where people are starving. This thought breaks my content of the morning. I take out my kindle. I am reading an odd book Ursula Le Guin wrote, called Changing Planes- a science fiction collection of stories which set out as essays about different planes of existence one can reach only while in a state of extreme boredom at the airport. The alien planes of existence are all reflections of humanity and our preoccupations and I am so engrossed I almost miss the tram and then almost forget to get off.
The swimming pool is very close and not expensive. It is an indoor below ground pool – my least favorite swimming place. The sea is my preference but this is a land locked country- a fact of which I seem always to be peculiarly and slightly suffocatingly aware- and beggars can’t be choosers. At least it is a large pool. Half the time it is booked out to groups, and then there are some many hours morning noon and night, when it is open to the public. During these public hours, the pool might more properly be called people soup. But there are also hours marked in red, which the savvy swimmer knows mean that some lanes are booked and some are open to the public. I aim for these hours, overlapping slightly with the public hours, because there are often periods where there will only be a few people in the water. My dream is to find an empty pool. I have never quite managed it but today it is relatively empty and I am elated to be able to swim without worrying I am going to hit someone, or encounter one of those bullet headed men with shoulder muscles that make them seem as if they have three bald heads rather than one. Somehow I am always sure these men wear suits when they leave the pool. They swim like machines and if you enter the lane they have marked out as their own, no matter how full the pool is and when lane sharing requires a delicate and attentive weaving course, they plough straight through the water and quite literally swim over you. If they hit you, and they often do, they then shout at you. Scolding them or complaining does no good and I am always startled at the helpless rage these men provoke in me, because they seem so much a metaphor for all of the fools heedlessly dragging our world and us to the brink of They are instantly enraged. What I like least about these encounters is my own helpless outrage. I seek an empty pool to avoid that rage more than to avoid the men that provoke it. I have a mental ideal of tranquil swimming, which I strive to attain.
I am not the only one in the pool who feels angry- psychodramas erupt often and easily when the pool is full- these Czechs, for all their grim silences and blank faces, seem to contain a well of rage that will erupt at the slightest provocation- the writer in me is always watching other people even as it turns its gimlet eye on my own reactions and emotions. I am always under my own microscope. Often the observing writer seems separate from the human living her life, one being carried on or on the back of the other, a slightly irksome weight.
Today the pool is nearly empty. I swim back and forwards for forty minutes wishing I would not watch the clock, but I do. Every few laps I check it. Only when forty minutes are up am I able to swim calmly and slowly and aimlessly. I think about a story I will write about a swimming pool. I have been thinking about this story for some months and on another level for years. I think of an Irish painter I once knew who only painted herself over and over at swimming pools - they were not glamorous pictures; she was slightly square bodied with a blond helmet of chlorine dried hair and the pools themselves have that oddly almost medical sterility. Her pictures were wonderful. They perfectly captured the solitary state one tries to achieve inwardly and outwardly, and there is a sense of absolute striving and loneliness that somehow touches me deeply. I have the perfect title but do not yet have all of the ingredients. Some link is missing but it will come. I let the thoughts slosh loosely in my head, like coins jingled in a loose fist. I watch what they provoke. I do not try to do anything or make connections. My mind drifts to another story I want to write- this one is almost ready but I am not ready to write it- though I know it will be the next story I write. Its title will be the title of my next collection, I think. Then I notice the pool is filling up so I get out. I am tired enough that getting showered and dressed feels like a mantra.
Once free of the pool – it feels like that, despite my enjoyment- I head home, via a couple of dreamy dinner ingredient purchases when my mood feels like a bubble I don’t want to break. I might read if there are a lot of people and the tram is crowded, but if the tam is empty I will sit in my seat blinking out the window. I like looking at the Vltava as we go along beside it. I like thinking of words to describe the water, the sky. I try not to see the people or to think about them. At home, I exchange my swimming gear and shopping for my laptop and go back to tram which will carry me to the coffee shop I have chosen for that day. There are a web of them I use, several being the favorites of the moment, others being either coffee shops I am trying out or have begun to like less.
I walk from the tram stop to Mamacafe, which is right in the heart of the city but away from the tourist track. It might be full, in which case I will go elsewhere. I am already coming up with alternatives. Maybe the French Institute café, which is close by, though they have been reconstructing it and that may still be going on. Or I could go to Costa but the coffee there is expensive and indifferent and it opens on a mall. Sometimes I like sitting there and watching people, many of who seem to come to the mall as a form of leisure activity. It seems a soulless place to me and I come only to shop for certain specific food items there. But once I am there, Costa’s is always interesting to sit in, since it has a wall of windows facing the up and down escalators. I often sit here with Adelaide as we watch people and discuss them together, guessing about their clothes and taste and moods, their lives and thoughts. But today it is Mamacafe, one of the two ranking favorite places for me, right now. A two story place with an odd collection of tables and chairs, and inhabitants, it offers fair-trade coffee in many varieties, quiche and cheap vegetarian soups and the tattooed and native head-wrapped waiters never act like you have sat there too long. They are attentive but indifferent- I like that. I also like it that a lot of students come here, too.
No one smokes at Mamacafe. I wouldn’t go there if they did. Smokers’ smoke makes me cough too much and it makes me feel sick. It is not a matter of principals but a matter of I will throw up if I stay for too long. I only ever have two coffees, and, if I am hungry, a soup. Usually I get a good bit of work done during that time, but it is public space, like the pool, and that can vary depending on certain factors. A screaming baby is a real impediment, not because I mind that the mother has brought it to a coffee shop, or even that it screams, but because the sound of its distress makes me terribly tense. I worry in some visceral way that I ought to turn and make sure it is all right. I worry that the woman will worry the sound is bothering the other people or the workers or me.
Today, a mother and baby and the mothers’ friend take the table behind me. I have been lost in the journey Bily and Zluty are making, now led by a little group of diggers. I know what lies ahead of them and I am looking forward to writing it. The moon is shining through a thick mist that blocks out the stars and the two moons. They are pulling the wagon with the unconscious cat in it. I am trying to decide if it should wake. Its wakings in this book are infrequent and so very dramatic and I think I like that. Also by being asleep and feverish, it cannot be asked too many questions and that is important. I know a lot that I do not want to tell in this book, maybe at all. I am still trying to decide how much is fair to tell of the back story. Instinctively I feel it is better to tell less and leave it as a mystery. What matters is that I know it hangs together and so it will have an implied coherence.
Bily is trying to understand what the diggers are telling them, when the two omen and the baby come. The diggers are a lot cleverer and more complex than the other diggers they have known. I had not planned that and I am wondering why. I am eager to bring the Monks out of the wings, not a hundred percent sure of their size in relation to Bily and Zluty. Big parent to small child ratio, I think. Threatening but not too threatening. But I also love the misconceptions Bily and Zluty have about them and about the blizzards.
The baby starts to wail. I try not to listen. My back is to them because I am sitting at my favorite table, which is an actual desk and has only one seat- not many people want a table for one. It faces a wall and the window on the side is curtained. Sometimes I can work uninterrupted till my computer runs out of power.
The mother is trying to sooth the baby and I hear that she is Czech. After some time she managed to calm her fussing baby. I have been drawn unwillingly out of my head because of the crying and I can tell by the strength of the baby’s cries that it is very young- maybe a newborn. We are all settling nicely when a loud American guy comes to talk to the woman and her friend. His voice wakes the baby and it starts to cry again, but not full voice He talks more loudly, telling them apropos of nothing, about a film director that had called him about collaboration. He starts talking about the fact that you no longer need a license to busk in Prague. The woman tells him softly that he looks well and he asks how not when lovely ladies surround him. This would be sweet or roguish maybe if he were a dapper elderly gentleman. As it is I suddenly realize I know who he is. A slightly built ex Californian poet- grifter and long time expat here, with hippie-ish accoutrements and language, he manages to inveigle himself in every possible literary event and into the affairs of a good many visiting tourists who have a yen to dip a toe into the bohemian life. There are a few expat English speaking opportunists like him in every European city I have ever visited - and they seem able to sniff out likely prospects at a hundred paces. Sometimes they are after money or help and sometimes just an audience.
Now he is telling the women about a joint project he has been working. He has dozens of collaborations with dozens of people some flattered and touched and admiring of him and his bohemian life and some, less enchanted. I know that if he does not leave, I will have to. He starts talking about an exhibition he saw where the artist was really in touch with his inner self.
I am grinding my teeth now and I will the baby to scream its head off, but it settles. The poet grifter is still talking about himself. His audience is silent. I want to turn and look at their faces. They are Czech and Czechs do not suffer fools or anyone much, easily. Are they amused and tolerant? Are they grinding their teeth? His egoism would be forgivable if he was talented but he is not. His poetry is his shtick. He borrows the mothers’ mobile phone and goes away to make a call, ostensibly to be private but in fact he talks so loudly that we can all hear he is telling someone- a journalist, his life story- how came to Prague and his spirit found its home. Everyone in the café knows he is being interviewed. I wonder who is on the other end, and if they realise he is playing to a full house. I think as I have before, of writing him out, but he would come across as a caricature. I cannot even describe him without the description sounding ruthless and unkind. I know he deserted his wife and a gorgeous little baby girl who must now be a teen because she was the age of my daughter. I wonder what happened to them both and am glad the mother, in despair went home- to Poland was it?
He is still talking. I will leave, I think, but I don’t. I try to get back to Zluty and Bily. The moonlight shines through a tattered break in the clouds and they see that what they have taken for rocks are machines. The sort that littered the plain, only these are too regularly arranged to have fallen that way. The diggers tell them that the Monks bring them and that they must hurry before they come, or the monks will take them captive. ‘What will they do?’ Zluty urges Bily to ask. ‘They will turn them into metal,’ Bily reports back.
‘Would you like coffee?’ The waiter asks, apologetically because I have started. I order Costa Rica cappuccino only after my ears tell me the poet had gone. I wonder what happened. I assume he came and left while I was working or more likely he has drifted upstairs having found a more avid audience there. Suddenly the baby starts fussing again and the mother borrows her friend’s phone. She calls the poet and tells him to bring her phone back. She needs to leave. He must have carried it upstairs, I think. ‘Where are you?’ She asks. Then ‘Karlovo Namesty!’ This is round the whole block. ‘What are you doing there?’ She demands, sounding understandably amazed and irritated but also resigned, which tells me she knows or has begun to know how he operates. She tells him to come back now and bring the phone. She tells him to bring her phone back now. Her tone is terse. She and the friend talk animatedly but very quietly. The friend’s phone rings. It is given back to the mother. ‘Yes? Yes? OK Fine,’ she snaps. She and the friend pack and leave. I presume she is going to get the phone from him. She pays the bill. I assume she paid the poet grifter’s bill, too. He seldom pays his own bills. I feel angry for her but also smug in my judgments. I dislike this smugness and take myself to task over it. ‘It is like a wall in your mind, I tell myself severely. If I ever write about him, I would need to find compassion to see him clearly, even if he still ends up being an unpleasant type.
It would be difficult to use this man in a story, and yet the very difficulty of it gives the idea appeal and cools my ire. Then I realise I don’t have to write about him or solve him or even think about him right now. Very often the first instinct to write about something you see or react strongly to is a knee jerk, obvious raw impulse that must be checked until the matter goes in and comes out again. This interplay I have witnessed, like many such little interplays I overhear in a day, needs to go in deep and find connections and resonance.
I return to Bily and Zluty and the diggers persuade them to co away from the foot of the mountain to their burrow, as it is dangerously near dawn, when the Monks will come. The coffee comes and I drink. It is wonderful and I am soothed. I begin to write again.
The poet grifter returns. I see him immediately from the side of my eye. All thought of Bily and Zluty are lost as I lean forward so that my hair covers the side of my face. If he sees that he has met me, he will speak to me. He comes to look at the table behind me. Did he think the two women and the baby were still there or did he leave something? He sits down and suddenly I feel his eyes boring into my back. He has noted I have been typing and I know as if I can read his mind that he wants to talk about what I am doing as a lead in to telling me what he has been doing. I will not have the courage to be rude enough to make him leave me alone. I must leave but I want to do so without exchanging a word or look with him. I don’t know why but this feels vital. He gets up and changes tables with a lot of going to and fro. The table he chooses is in front of me slightly to the left. If I get up or lift my head, I will not be able to help meeting his gaze. I am ferociously determined not to give in to him. It feels like a battle of wills. He cannot quite bring himself to speak to me without some pretext, but he will, eventually. I get out finally, by pretending to have an intense low voiced conversation on my phone while I pack my stuff and go to pay the bill.
Leaving the café I feel like a bird freed from a cage. I ignore a sharp insistant tapping on the window and decide I am too unsettled by the encounter/non encounter to work. I have been planning to see a movie today and I make up my mind to go and see if there is an immediate session- I often go to the movies impulsively like this.
I walk slowly to the theatre, my mind on the grifter poet, assimilating him, trying to process my reactions, wondering when and how and if ever, I will use him. Thinking how many moments like this there are in a day. Gradually my obsessive reflections about the poet lose their hold on me. It is like a fist loosening, falling open, ceasing to grasp. It is a delicious day. Summer-y, not too many people in the streets. I feel the sort of elation I always feel when I have escaped oppressive company. I remember once, walking along this very street, suddenly stopping and feeling strangely as if I would never have to move again That it was enough. Struck by the memory, I buy a ticket and though the movie is an hour away I persuade the guy to let me go up and sit in the coffee shop. It is empty. I sink back into Bily and Zluty. They go to the burrows of the diggers- they are far more elaborate than other digger burrows and they make use of metal from the broken machines. This is fascinating to Bily and Zluty and they question the diggers about the fact that they see these as dead metal. The hour passes like the blink of an eye. I have somehow unknowingly eaten all my popcorn. Annoyed, I go into the movie. It is a good one and I lose myself for several hours. The phone vibrates and it is my daughter. I text that I am at the movies. ‘Oh you and your movies,’ she sends back, tolerantly. ‘Hunger games?’ ‘Y x’ I send.
I go home slowly, walking and then by tram. I think about the movie all the way home- why I liked it, certain vivid scenes, and the powerful characterization. I think the movie was better than the book, though it is the story that enlivens both. I love going to a movie that really engages me. I was not sure I would like this one but I was excited to see it. I liked the dystopian feel of it. My daughter saw it on the weekend and I am relishing talking about it with her. It is still bright day because the clocks changed the night before. It is almost six but it feels too early for six. Time changes are disorientating. I buy some milk, which I forgot earlier, and tram home. My partner is about to go off for a gig; my daughter is in the park with her friend, going for a run. I walk in the park not really looking for her, but because the day is stil lovely. I stay to the fringes. I stop and read for a time, not long- there is still enough winter in the air to have a nip, but signs of spring are everywhere.
Back home, I go back to the book. I feast with the diggers and with Bily and Zluty who are waiting for the day to pass. Both of them are terribly curious about the Monks. The Monster has a dream. It wakes. I don’t like this chapter. Maybe I should have them hide and watch the monks. I try having the monster delirious instead of awake. I don’t like it. I go back to the foot of the mountain and begin to rewrite forward. The door opens and I realize it is almost eight O’clock. Mother panic overtakes me and I tell my daughter that dinner will be ready soon and she should do her piano practice. ‘In five minutes,’ she says, as usual. ‘I need to fix the pictures for the blog.’ I asked her to do this a few weeks ago. Twenty minutes later, dinner cooking, I remind her. I have put in a load of washing, done the dishes and swept the floor. I want to tell her to take the rubbish out but somehow I can’t be bothered. I want to listen to her play so I paint my fingernails and toenails black. She practices for fifteen minutes then comes to ask if she can stop. Another ten, I say, feeling virtuous because of the little whirlwind of domestic activities I have engaged in. ‘Until dinner is ready.’ She goes back after taking a final couple of blog pictures and I marvel as ever that she is obedient in such matters as these. What would I do, I wonder, if she just refused? Why doesn’t she refuse? She knows I will do nothing to punish her. I have to be really furious to be tough. I am not often so and she knows I am far from it now. When she comes in to ask how long, I see that she is wearing a T-shirt that says Moody but Marvelous. I laugh.
I wash the dishes from the day waiting for the meal to cook, listening to a Jenny Unger audio book I have listened to before, called Beautiful Lies. The voice of the reader is perfect for the character and it sooths me to hear how perfect it is. I know the story so my mind can drift in and out. That is what I want right now. I am also, on another level, thinking of how I will read Greylands when we record that later in the year.
I am still half in the world of Zluty and Bily. Sometimes you can drop so deeply into writing it is like that- half of you is in that world. Hours pass without you noticing when you work. It feels like weeks since I saw the movie, months since the encounter with the poet grifter. I feel vaguely untethered and as I dish out my daughters’ meal, I think that life is sometimes like swimming in an uncrowded pool. Dreamy laps. My daughter wants to eat in her room, she has homework she will do. I let her have a tray- I only insist we eat together when we are all home to dinner. The rest of the time, she chooses. I am not hungry. I cut up a mango and sit down to eat it, thinking I need to write my insideadog blog. This would be a good day. I make toast and remind myself that tomorrow I need to make the long trek across the city to the shop where I can get vegemite- we are all addicted to it, even my Czech partner. Tomorrow Ann and Jess will arrive, and I want to go and say hello to them. I will take them some tram tickets, show them how the trams work and suggest some places for dinner. I will arrange to meet them the next morning for a walk across Petrin Hill to the castle. I ought to have got a program for classical music for them. I meant to but forgot. I make a mental note to do that tomorrow after I see them so I can show it to my partner to ask what would be good.
As usual I am beginning to construct the day to come. Tomorrow, I will sit in my other favorite coffee shop, which is just a five-minute walk up the hill from our apartment. It is a slightly prissy place called Erhartova Cukrarna- cukrarna means literally ‘sugar shop’. The coffee is good here, though the staff have lately seemed to increase by several incompetent young women who make the coffee too strong and forget the glass of water, and a high-handed older woman who has a nice smile when it can be persuaded out of her. We are waiting to see how it all comes down but at the moment, it has less appeal than it had. Though after the session at Mamacafe I am happy to be going elsewhere. Coming here at lunchtime is best because no one wants just coffee and cake for lunch so the place is all but deserted. I will come here before I go and get the vegemite as I can get the tram just a little further up the hill. That is all the plan that is needed. The rest will happen around it. I am already eager for the next day to begin- to be writing again. I don’t like night. I don’t like the end of the day.
My daughter comes in with the tray, saying she is tired and going to bed. She has the pictures I charged her a few weeks back to take for this blog and gives her ipod to me, saying she did not get as many as she meant to, and she uses some apps on some that I might find weird. They will be fine, I tell her. She shows me how she can almost handstand and then goes out, yawning. I remember that I wanted to talk about the movie with her, but half my head is constructing this blog and half is on my plan for the following day. I feel guilty but I am glad, tonight, that she does not want me to read. These days reading is no more than that she likes us to be close in some non engaged way when she goes to sleep more than that she is interested in the book I am reading. But tonight she is very tired. She goes to bed and switches the light out at once. The cat comes to sit on my lap as I write. My daughter must have kicked her out. I will go and sit in bed and work on the blog, I think, but absently.
When my partner arrives at one, I am still sitting at the table working on the blog. I leave him to eat the meal I have made and go to sit in bed. I want to finish the blog so I can post it and get back to my book the next day. I work a little more but suddenly I can hardly keep my eyes open. It is two am and I tell myself it will be better to read the blog through and post it the following morning. I know if I do that, I will spend a good bit of the day fiddling with it, because I will have a more critical eye to cast over it. I put the computer aside and think I will just close my eyes for a minute. I hear my glasses fall on the floor. I am too tired to get up and find them. I squint at the display while I set the alarm. I sleep.
I don’t dream.
Not all days are like this- there are many days that are busier, less focused, the writing goes badly, less or sometimes no writing at all is done, I hate what I write, I have to edit something or write a letter of support for someone or read a book a friend has sent me to see if I will write a copy line for it- something I seldom do. I get a job to do a voice recording or I have to go to the dentist or I wake up sick, or have a headache I can’t get rid of, or I am tired all day and can’t concentrate. Sometimes there is photocopying to do or family dramas to try to solve from afar, arguments with my daughter, long discussions with my partner, dinner or coffee with friends.
But today was a good writing day.
- Isobelle Carmody