Every writer knows that writing is an act of choice. There is a moment during the mundanity of the morning, when you glimpse a movement out the corner of your eye, and you know that the fairies have arrived. Despite any plans that you had for your day, you must write the words they give you, lest they drive you nuts, or worse, go away and take with them that feeling of magic that writing from that place brings.
This is the point where a writer must choose between sitting down at the computer or cleaning the shower. Too often, the latter is chosen and the fairies move on to another writer who would rather play their game.
Today I chose to write, so my study is sparkling with magic dust. Down the road there is a writer who has a clean shower and no inspiration. In the next town, another writer is waiting for me to stop writing so that the fairies will visit her.
I have discovered the true purpose of my cat: to bring me the world of nature when I am unable to go outside myself. Whether it be the smell of fresh soil on her paws, a layer of early morning fog on her fur, or a cicada in her mouth, she seeks to share with me her excitement about the joys of the garden.
Even a mouse on my doorstep, or the pungent smell of fennel after she has been hiding in the herb garden – she shares it with me, knowing I am stuck indoors. Then when I have emptied all I know and feel onto the page, she urges me to come outside to refill myself with ideas and the energy of the wild that sustains and drives me.
Here I was thinking she was just a welcome source of cuddles and distraction, when all along she has been my most loyal ally and my biggest source of inspiration.
It is a dark and stormy morning (sorry Snoopy). It is days like these that I like to write. There is something cosy about letting your imagination go while the raindrops run down the windowpane and the house creaks in the wind. My hot chocolate and I feel so safe here, despite the surrounding whirlwind of clouds and ideas.
I suspect this goes back to rainy days when I was a kid. The need to stay indoors and use our imaginations to create new games, or just being able to curl up with the latest Secret Seven book. Between the rain we would don our wet weather gear and launch toy boats in the big puddle at the bottom of the backyard.
Maybe my yearning is not actually to write, but to go splashing around in my gumboots? Maybe as an adult my writing is the equivalent activity? To go splashing around in a world of words and thoughts.
Well, that was it – my splash for the day. Now I have to go do my “day job” to pay for more cocoa and Snoopy books. And thunder is coming…
Every Monday I wind the pendulum clock in the lounge. Perhaps my husband’s grandmother used to do the same thing – six turns of the key. Often our lives continue like this – regular, filled with casual rituals, and a mundane safety.
In an instant the world tilts on its axis and we are woken from the illusion of quiet continuity. Just a phone call, a simple message, and we remember how fragile things are. That we are in fact hurtling through the universe at 2.1 million kilometres an hour. How did we ever imagine that things might stay the same? Even when we are doing nothing, our lives are flying along at breakneck speed.
My mother asked me today if I would like a life-size polystyrene giraffe — she has one in her basement. How do you answer a question like that?
“In happy hours, when the imagination wakes like a wind at midnight, and the soul trembles in all its leaves, it is a joy to be uplifted on its wings, and listen to the prophetic voices in the air that call us onward.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Like most of my books, this blog is about everyday life, but other more serious stuff too – like removing devious people from your Christmas card list; how sitting down with a cup of tea and a book can help you get your chores done; and most importantly, how changing a duvet cover could ultimately become an Olympic sport.
I’d love to tell you blogging is easy. I’d like to tell you that it comes naturally to a writer. Despite the fact that we writers think we are perfect, the reality is that our editors are perfecter. Yes, I know that’s not a word – I’m just trying to annoy my editor!! Now she’s really pissed off because I intentionally and maliciously used not just one, but two exclamation marks.