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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Writer's Block

I guess it's that time of year where you might find yourself ordering things off the internet for Christmas to delay the moment when you know you have "writer's block." 
It's interesting how much time you can waste doing this instead of writing about the weather or putting "suddenly" at the beginning of each new paragraph. The last item I bought (OK it was an advent calendar} wouldn't register until I'd put instructions for delivery. After I sent it I realised instead of writing "Please leave it in the porch" "I'd written Please leave it in the pooch."

The pooch Pixie.
This was not a good thing. For indeed the pooch Pixie has already consumed items left in the porch. Probably her favourite one was Nigel Slater's book on food. It was wrapped up as well. But then Pixie, like her forebear Jai, likes anything to do with food. Jai ate the back of the sofa so she could lie behind it with her head on where the back had been and watch "Ready Steady Cook." on the t.v.

I am reminded of this because I have been re-reading some of my earlier blogs from a few years back. This is another sign of writer's block. Spending time reading what you have already written rather than what you should be writing now. I found myself yesterday re-reading the manuscript that is with my editor waiting to be approved or disapproved. I have read this so many times I can practically recite the whole thing by heart. It begins - "Suddenly ........."

 Another tactic is to do something else completely different. I have been planting sweet pea seeds for next year.

The worry about leaving it in the pooch is that the other day there was nearly a nasty pooch in a pooch drama. I never write about the people who come and stay in the Pink Tower as holiday guests but a lovely couple came with two tiny dogs which were so tiny they managed to get under the gate and into our garden. Pixie firstly didn't know what they were(I know the breed but can't spell it right now) and secondly didn't want two things she didn't know in her garden. Each dog was smaller than her head and as she may well follow the maxim "don't eat anything bigger than your head" I feared she was going to consume them. She barked a lot and they barked a bit and managed to wriggle back under the gate. My heart was in my mouth which was better than a dog being in hers.

 Something else you do with writer's block is to leave the house. There is a great natural history section in Bristol Museum where this wild cat is in a glass case.

 I showed the picture to Pocket (quarter Bengal) and asked him if he intended to grow this big but he was busy doing my paperwork and thought my question was silly. He reminded me I couldn't put cat food down as a legitimate expense. I told him I was writing about a cat in my new book (the one with my editor).
 The last of the dahlias (my favourite - Cafe au Lait} and the answer to writer's block - get in a cart and ride away into the sunset. Beezle has reminded me that he and Nietsche think that 'the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself, you lie in wait for yourself in caverns and forests.'
I am avoiding both things - forests and caverns that is.

I suppose every writer suffers from it do they? Ted Hughes had the wonderful Thought Fox who inspired him. Reading his poems it's hard to believe he could ever have been stuck in a rut and I'm sure he didn't waste time ordering driving gloves over the internet. Actually I don't think there was an internet then.


in memory of Ted Hughes by Seamus Heaney

"And what was it like," I asked him,
"Meeting Eliot?"
                      "When he looked at you,"
He said, "it was like standing on a quay
Watching the prow of the Queen Mary
come towards you, very slowly."

                       Now it seems
I'm standing on a pierhead watching him
All the while watching me as he rows out
And a wooden end-stopped stern
Labours and shimmers and dips,
Making no real headway.

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