Saturday, March 03, 2012

Some thoughts on writing, and driving in fog, and the usual

It's a weird thing, writing.

Sometimes you can look out across what you're writing, and it's like looking out over a landscape on a glorious, clear summer's day. You can see every leaf on every tree, and hear the birdsong, and you know where you'll be going on your walk.

And that's wonderful.

Sometimes it's like driving through fog. You can't really see where you're going. You have just enough of the road in front of you to know that you're probably still on the road, and if you drive slowly and keep your headlamps lowered you'll still get where you were going.

And that's hard while you're doing it, but satisfying at the end of a day like that, where you look down and you got 1500 words that didn't exist in that order down on paper, half of what you'd get on a good day, and you drove slowly, but you drove.

And sometimes you come out of the fog into clarity, and you can see just what you're doing and where you're going, and you couldn't see or know any of that five minutes before.

And that's magic.


My days are good right now. I've found my writing rhythm and I appear to have some kind of writing mojo back. I'm not writing the thing I thought I was going into hiding to write, but I'm loving what I am writing, am pretty sure I'll be able to make it all work when I get to the next draft, even though right now it has things in it that mean it's going to be harder to publish than normal. It's in that weird zone between children's fiction and adult fiction with children in it (think of the ghostly school story in the middle of Sandman:Season of Mists as an example of the kind of thing I mean).

I'm missing my wife, but missing her less and less with every good writing day, and I'm selfishly enjoying having a daily routine I've never really had before that includes a morning jog or workout (put together for me by a very kind fitness instructor who reads this blog and recorded some videos for me) and a long hard yoga session once or twice a week.

Mostly I wish Amanda could just teleport in every few days for dinner, and then zap herself back to Melbourne in the morning.

I've found a little cafe where they seem perfectly happy to have me in the corner scribbling away while people come and people go; and when I went in there this afternoon, the barrista smiled and asked if I was having the usual (viz. their "British Breakfast Tea") and I said yes, and realised I rather loved the idea of having a usual.

I like having short hair because I feel vaguely and comfortably incognito. So I am not posting photographs of myself right now. In all probability the incognito thing is entirely a placebo effect, and everybody in the town looks at me and goes, there goes that English writer. But it makes me happy, in the same way that Amanda wearing fake Clark Kent hipster glasses around Melbourne as a disguise makes her happy.

If you see this woman in Melbourne, Australia, it is obviously not my wife.

The most interesting thing I've done recently was drive across the middle of the state to go and spend a day with Stephen King: I'll be writing about it for the Times (the UK one, not the New York one).

This writing retreat only lasts another few days, in its current form.

But I am very happy. And writing. In case you were wondering.

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