I am enjoying the cool and quiet in the house. The family are Elsewhere, doing Other Things. I wish them well and will welcome their return…but not for a while.
Please don’t get me wrong. They are not gone for 3-5 years with good behaviour. They are not interstate/overseas/on another planet. They will be back for tea, but until then peace can prevail – peace and literary endeavour.
It is surprising how external noise, smell, and bustle can interfere with the thought processes. I found it inexpressibly so in my old workplace as telephones, customers, bosses, and passing mountebanks constantly interrupted the workplace weblog column. In some cases a simple set of three paragraphs took three hours to write – a circumstance not helped by the fact that the internal internet connections of the building were faulty. Some days saw no social media communication due to ” interrupted service “. It was the commercial version of snow on the points at Didcot.
Of course there are also the internal interruptions. I need a water, I need a coffee, I need a pee…now I need another water…Some of these are my mind telling me I have no story to communicate and sending me off to get one. Quite what gems of philosophy I hope to bring back from the refrigerator or the toilet is a moot point. The interruptions for physical needs are one thing – stopping for mental refuelling is another. Sometimes you just need more thought inside the brain if you are going to pour it out on the keyboard. This is what reading breaks or a trip out in the car can provide. Sometimes all you need to do is see one new idea or sight and the business flows again.
No writer can bang away all day and hope to keep on target – unless they were Anthony Trollope and then he did not so much write as turn a handle on a word machine and cut the resulting prose up into chapters. Rather the literary equivalent of an efficient sausage machine. I admire Anthony and wish I had his celerity. And his salary. Hell, I’d settle for his celery, particularly if I could get the sticks with the cream cheese in the center.
The best I can do is what I’m doing now; taking a holiday day and racking up one weblog post after another in anticipation of a trip interstate in a few weeks. This column may be difficult to write from a little Ipad during the ten days I am away, but if I have a number of posts ready to go on the launcher I may be able to use that iPad to send them out each day. The trick in doing this is not to tie the posting to a particular day – to make it universal enough to cover a broad space of time.
I should be interested to read in other weblog columns how their authors operate. Are they all in garrets typing away in gloom and spiders or are they in gay cafés surrounded by noisy waiters and the clash of plates? Do any of them deliberately poison all the people in their apartment building just to get enough quiet to write? Is it very expensive, poison?