Perhaps it is not a surprise that I didn't manage 50,000 words in November. I should say, though, that I was "on track" half way through the month, just before going down with flu proper. My revised target was then to reach 30,000 by the end of the month, that representing a respectable 1,000 a day, and I am exactly 399 words short of this - a bit annoying, but still. I did what I could, and it has been worth the doing, for I now feel that 1,000 a day is manageable - just - and I have, in spite of everything, produced something I want to carry on working with.
I am post-viral, very, and this is the real bastard, not the actual flu which conducted itself in a predictable and proper fashion - one feels ill, yes, but it is a normal, healthy kind of ill with stages and resolutions. This too will pass. I had a scary bout of asthma, not too bad, but reminding me of the time I was hospitalised with it and each out breath felt as though it might be the last. I have the toothache - nothing (apparently) wrong, but something has agitated the nerve, which hammers most insistently to be acknowledged. Hello nerve, hello tooth. Talking of which: hello heart, hello psyche. Yes, I know, but would you ever just pipe down and let me get on with, you know, things.
So here we are again in advent which, for the whole of the civilised world - in my neck of the woods at any rate - means shopping. Though not for me because, as you know, shopping never was or will be my thing. I was standing in a post office queue the other day gawping at the quantity of cut-price sweets and biscuits on the shelves (post office is in a Co-op store).
Doesn't that look disgusting, said the woman next to me, and for moment I was thankful that the shelf display was there, having its (unintended) effect. For I love chocolate as much as the next person, but there is nothing like a heap of Celebrations and Cadbury's Roses to make you sicken at the excess. The same woman (a village acquaintance) said, I think that everyone who did all their Christmas shopping in June should be shot. And though I might feel that to be a step too far, I cannot but applaud the spirit. I will achieve grumpy old womanhood yet. Ok, I have bought advent calendars and beeswax candles. There will be a feast at Christmas, as is right and proper. The Signs children will get some money because that's what is needed, and little gifties to open, because they are good for the soul, and Mr. Signs will get - well I don't yet know what, as The Wire is all finished, but something. Actually, he has made a list this year and although this may appear to contradict everything I have just grumped about, I do like a man who knows what he wants. And everyone else will get a jar of home-made (but not by me) chutney or jam.
Me, I might have put silk underwear on my list, but actually I need them now because of the cold so I have ordered some from Patra - silken long johns and vests. The creative unconscious is a strange beast. I recently wrote my first ever proper sex scene (bear with me, this is relevant) - proper in the sense that it describes two people who are actually Doing It, whereas usually I tend to come at these things (shut up) more obliquely. By this I do not mean euphemistically, you will find no "she felt the length and breadth of his desire" in my works - forsooth. Focussing on apparently unrelated particulars can sometimes be more potent than zooming in on the act itself, but this time the story asked for it, so I obliged. And blow me down with a feather if silk underwear (thermals, actually), didn't find their way into the scene, yes, and on the male character too, not the female. There he stood in his white undergarments, very fine he looked too, and it did occur to me that if only I could bring myself to get the brand name in I might be onto something lucrative. She felt the depth and quality of his Patra thermal long johns. No, I couldn't possibly.
Happy advent, peeps. The light shineth despite the Celebrations. And that's quite enough brand names for one post.