Monday, July 12, 2010
Cue Stage Left: enter batty writing recluse
I am in grave danger, I realise, of becoming a Grade A batty recluse. Aside from two trips to the gym, one of which involved a quick dash for some grocery supplies, I have not left the house for the past eight days. I’m sure it’s not healthy.
Instead, each morning has seen me shuffling down the passage in my pyjamas and wrapped up in a manky old cardy, cashmere pashmina and what can only be described as increasingly rank slippers. A note on the slippers: I fear they are due for exorcism and burning on the pyre. Note to self: do not wear furry slippers day in and day out without socks. ‘Nuf zed.
At the end of the passage is my writing cave in which I fear there may be a cranky old bear or two. Oh, no, wait, that’s me. Sorry.
But I’m getting sidetracked. Did I mention “batty”? Yes? Right.
So, enter the writing cave, switch on the computer. Shuffle from cave to kitchen to create rocket fuel brew of chocolate. Recipe here. Shuffle back to cave clutching brew.
Take quick trawl around Facebook. Play a couple of games of Wordscraper and Scrabble with Janey and Val. Direct attention to matters in hand.
And here, you see is the problem.
There’s a new manuscript in progress.
Or, rather, there’s a complete rewrite of a manuscript first drafted two years ago. And it’s dark and gritty. It’s deep and intense. It’s shot through with bolts of lyricism.
And it has consumed me.
Picture this: Writer, in pyjamas, swathed in blankets, in darkened cave. Note, the blinds are remain drawn and the protesting orchids have had to be moved out. The blankets, I should add, are frequently over the writer’s head. The heater is on full blast. The writer, it appears, has created some sort of bookwomb. No, not bookworm (though there might be some of them lurking between the covers too).
The writer stays like this until about 14h30 when she realises she’s forgotten to eat and she’s starting to smell something less pleasant that a camel’s armpit. (I have smelled a camel from up close. I know.) At this point she scuttles down the passage and throws herself under a steaming shower.
The trouble is, the shower acts like a psychic phone-booth, so the ideas start to flow again.
At this point, the writer flings on a mangy dressing gown and hurtles down the passage to capture the new ideas before they take wing into the stratosphere.
By now it’s 16h30 and the writer still hasn’t eaten.
However, it’s at approximately this point that a modicum of sanity prevails and the writer gets dressed. Usually in her “writing pyjamas”. In case you’re wondering, pyjamas are the fundamental element of a writer’s wardrobe. (I will be putting in several tax claims for pyjamas.)
A short break ensues while the writer nibbles on fruit and cheese and rice cakes and stares, somewhat blankly, at the television screen.
Inevitably something will trigger an idea or a solution to a problem in the plot.
And it’s off again.
The writer’s husband has realised it’s probably best to a) get his own dinner, b) accept starvation or c) hope like hell she’ll cook something that will last several days. It’s usually a or c which prevail. (I’m not such a bad wife.)
So. This blog post written, the washing in the machine and on the line, I will step back slowly from the computer and take the day off. I have flung open the doors and windows, despite it being only 12 degrees outside and I am going to sit in the sun and read some other mad writers’ ramblings/words of wisdom/lyrical prose/insane witterings/seering insights. I’ll decide just what after I’ve spent several minutes staring at the pile of books that have been breeding next to my bed. Tomorrow, I will no doubt enter from stage left, again, clad in my jammies and descend upon the cave. But that’s tomorrow and today the batty recluse needs to grasp at the straw of sanity drifting in the wintery breeze.