I love writing. Yeah, I know, that seems obvious given the nature of this blog. But I forget sometimes, a lot of times recently. I get tangled up in all the associated ‘shoulds’ and they suffocate the wants, the love.
Language is a brilliant thing. Firstly you’ve got the words, millions of them, all with formal meanings and implied meanings and the depth of meaning that comes from usage – and sounds and rhythms and shapes on the page. And then you get to join them together in some many different ways to express every shade of thought and feeling. Love it, love it, love it.
I’ve been preoccupied with ‘works in progress’, or rather not in progress or creeping along slowly emitting that damp smell of… what? What is the right word? Failure? No, too hopeless, too easy. What’s it like? Like a mustiness that attaches to something that’s been in a cupboard for too long. You know it’s there. It’s whining quietly, like a dying puppy. Yes, really, that pathetic. I think it’s probably guilt. Yes, the damp smell of guilt. I’m picking that word from the box because if I keep looking I could be here for hours. I’ll pencil it in, like you do when you’re trying something in a crossword.
So, proper writing is not getting done and, when I pick up a pen or stroke a keyboard, a big wall of ‘you should be doing something proper’ rises up before me. I don’t have headspace right now for the sweep of my stories, so my shoulders droop and I move away. But that’s madness! Does a painter stop sketching, doodling, playing with colour because he can’t fit a canvas in his caravan? (I could muck about with lots more whimsical examples here, but that would be self indulgent because I think you get the idea.)
What have got done are a couple of Incandescent-of-Cambridge letters, some birthday messages to lovely friends and a couple of articles for the parish magazine. All fun and satisfying – how I imagine a gardener feeling when they talk about getting their hands in the earth. I’m feeling the love and I’m going to open the cupboard, feed the puppy, knock down the wall and generally frolic in a sandbox of mixed metaphors.