Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I have reached the half way mark of 25,000 words, a day behind target but still. Apart from the fun of the game (a truly essential element), and of doing it alongside some lovely others (so one is not entirely alone at the coalface) it has been sheer, hard , hacking-a-path-through-mountain slog. This is the long haul, you see, and I've never done that. It's like being in labour, when you suddenly experience a profound respect for all the other women who have been through this. Novelists, both published and unpublished - anyone who has actually done this thing of seeing a story (plotted, plotless, prosaic, poetic, whatever) through to the end: Respect!
And life does its best to get in the way. Why wouldn't it? It is such an unnatural thing to be doing, this out of the body thing with ghostie characters who inhabit one's imagination, take on substance and are unpredictable or too predictable, like people but not. I have been in my red and white pyjamas all day, with chest infection, feel awful and M.E. god has turned his baleful and venomous eye on me. Actually, he has been doing this from the outset, but today he sat on the bed with me and said: think you got away with it? Payback time!

And - get this - the writing isn't making me happy. Well who said that it was supposed to do that? Occasionally I get a grim kind of satisfaction because I can feel the pick hitting the seam, but mostly I feel a bit shite about it all, although not as shite as I would feel if I were not doing it.

I spoke with my London-based writing fiend the other day. She is working on her novel and has expressed how she feels about her particular work-in-progress. She loves it with a steadfast, dedicated and pure love. It is a source of joy, close to her heart, her attention to it has made it so. I can see the potential for this, even though we (work-in-progress and I) are are not at this stage in our relationship and it is an uneven and precarious kind of courtship.

A measure of Blogoslavian distraction feels like a good thing.


Cusp said...

Think of yourself as a bright trilling canary in the mine...chirruping away as the 'black gold' is unearthed. It'll become a pleasure instead of a chore. Mind you, there's nothing like hard graft to make you appreciate the end result.

Hope the chest infection gets better soon. Perhaps a new pice of cuttle fish and some Trill might help ;o)

Anna MR said...

I am rooting for you, as you know, clever, clever Signs.

(Hear hear to the measure of Blogoslavian distraction, too.)

Keep on keeping on. Proud of you.


Reading the Signs said...

Cusp, I am doing it right now - visualising myself chirruping. But didn't miners take canaries down there so as to get a warning of impending disaster? And when the singing stops - no, I'll stay with the chirrup. I needed a day off, is all. And a nice bowl of Trill.

Anna, I appreciate the roots, believe me, and they will sustain me in the gruelling days to come. If one had a cig in hand, things would take on a different aspect entirely. But one makes do with the Nicorette.

greenwords said...

One word: admiration.

Zhoen said...

I only hate mine when I can't find a way through, when it all seems to be going in the wrong direction. Not joy exactly when the flow hits, but such a sense of satisfaction.

Reading the Signs said...

Thank you Greenwords. I have to say I'm pretty staggered by having got even this far.

Zhoen, I think it is to do with being in the middle of something. When writing a poem or short story you don't have to spend quite so long in that place (with ever-changing signposts).

Cusp said...

Oooh don't think of impending disaster. Stay positive my little lemon feathered chum. I wanted you to visualise yourself as the chirruping canary in the mine where all is well and productive ;0)

Montag said...

Nose to the grindstone, Signs! Feet on the treadmill! Put in your days at the Writers' Work House!

Reading the Signs said...

Anon, good Montag, I will be going this, god willing and with an army of angels at my back.

Cusp? Still cheeping here, but conditions are challenging. But thank you.