Thursday, February 21, 2013

No more rushin' around.......

The beauty of early retirement is that for the first time in your life you have lots of time to do all the things you always said you wanted to do but never had either the time or the money. It can also be the worst thing. The cold gray short days in the six weeks after Christmas nearly drove me insane. I wasn't able to write and the course I wanted to do was delayed in starting up so I had a lot of time on my hands. I cleaned everything that stood still, then started on the things that move occasionally (the men in my life!). I read until my eyes were sore and found there is never anything but rubbish on the blasted screen in the corner. My hands started cramping from knitting and it was too wet and cold for me to garden - anyway there isn't much to do in that period. I even resorted to going to the gym.

Just when I thought I could stand it no more and was considering buying paint to paint walls that didn't particularly need painting Ireland did what Ireland always does; she threw me several days together of hard bright winter sunshine. O Joy! I got out of bed early every day and walked the feet off myself in all the lovely coastal villages that you find in Fingal, my favourite being the coastal path that runs from Malahide to Portmarnock. People were smiling at each other and I heard greetings of 'isn't it a grand day' and 'great day thank God' over and over again. I even managed to get some washing almost dried out in the fresh air! In February! They say a lot of medics take vitamin D pills all winter or use those seasonally affected disorder lamps to reduce the mental health problems that a shortage of daylight seems to cause. I think I'll follow that regime myself next year.

Anyway today I was walking in Rush, a lovely little seaside village that sits on the coastline. It was absolutely Baltic and as the library wasn't open when I finished my walk I stopped into a little restaurant and coffee shop called The Thatch on the main street. I was their only customer at that hour and I settled myself and my paper into a table by the fire. A friendly young man brought me a latte and a scone to die for. The scone was just out of the oven and of course I ladled on the butter, the jam and the double cream - thus negating the benefits (fat wise) of my brisk walk. I noticed that they had a good lunch and evening meal menu and I will certainly go back at some stage to sample those menus.

And so to the library to work. I'm working on a new ghost-writing project just now and a few short stories as I'm struggling with my second novel. I've put it to one side for the moment and may or may not go back to it - the beauty of being your own boss! The library closes for lunch which is a bit of a nuisance but I sat in my car and had a sandwich then went for another walk, calling into the charity shop where I picked up some more than serviceable garments, a cushion (don't tell Jemser - cushions do his head in) and a little giraffe ornament for my collection. The things people throw away! Lots of the clothes looked as if they had only been worn once or twice. This will be remembered as the throw-away period of history. Back for another few hours writing and a bit of a chat with a nice young man who, like me. had to leave his house in order to ensure he did some work. Didn't work though - we both ended up wasting time talking. Chats are lovely though and, yes, I know I'm not supposed to talk in the library!  

Monday, February 4, 2013

On Writers' Block.......

I haven’t blogged for a number of months because I haven’t written anything for a couple of months. I always thought writer’s block was a myth – something procrastinating writers used to justify their lack of output. Well it’s no myth. My words abandoned me last November and I have been so lonely without them. I blamed my new medication, thinking it had dulled my senses and rendered me incapable of opening myself up to the truth that comes when I am writing well. I worried that I might never write again.
But Oh Joy! The creativity started to flow again recently! And I am swimming with it - caught in its current, buoyed up and perfectly safe. I cannot force this to happen. It has a life of its own. I often sit looking at a blinking cursor or contemplate a white page waiting until the first sentence comes. There are many false starts but when the work is going well my fingers can hardly keep up with the words that spill onto the page. The marshalling of them into a coherent whole will come later, much later - on the seventh or eight draft. But for now I just write. And write and write and write.

This piece was written today, February 3rd in St Maur’s Church in Rush in North County Dublin. The church has been converted into a library and is a beautiful space to work in. There is just the right amount of noise in it as librarians and borrowers amble through their day. When  I lift my head from the screen I can look at beautiful wood, a vaulted ceiling or magnificent stained glass windows. It is incredibly energising. The wind was high and  howling around the outside of the church today suiting a piece I was working on that needed that energy. It fed the writing, I could barely keep up with it. It is an amazing feeling. Pray God it doesn’t desert me for too long ever again