I am always surprised by the extent to which my writing life is in tune with other things that are going on. For instance, I’m in the middle of the editing process, which in my case doesn’t mean sitting for hours staring at the first draft, painstakingly polishing the prose and delicately, as if using a scalpel, opening up chapters and transplanting new life-giving paragraphs into them. Well, I must admit there is a bit of that, but mostly it’s a case of mulling over plot problems in my head while I do something completely different, having brainwaves at times when I don’t have the right notebook with me and have to write odd phrases on scraps of paper or in the ‘notes’ part of my phone where I will probably never find them again, then trying to locate the place in the novel where I thought they might fit. It all seems very random and a bit scary. The only part I enjoy is when I find a reason to write a whole extra chapter or two, a few thousand words that will make me feel as if I’m actually writing again.
Today, at the end of my first week back at work after the Christmas and New Year break, I can see the same sort of thing is happening there at the moment. Lots of loose ends and things that were partly finished at the end of the year are vying for attention with larger, more important tasks. It’s as if the big things are in the process of breaking out of a chrysallis made up of the detritus that collected on my desk a month or so ago. But everything is still in transition, which makes me feel unsettled there too. It’s a similar story at home, with some small tasks that have to be done before I can make progress with anything more important.
The weather can’t make up its mind either. We’re threatened with snow soon, but this morning, although it’s very cold here, the sun has just come out and the sky is a sort of pale wintry blue with some harmless fluffy clouds. Last night two cats were fighting over their favoured spot on the bed, a sure sign not only that I will wake up in a panic because I’ve lost all feeling in my legs – the spot in question – but that the weather will be getting dramatically colder soon. A three-cat night almost always means snow in the next day or two.