As a novelist, says Anna Burns, her job is “to show up and be present and attend. It’s a waiting process.” She “just had to wait for my characters to tell me their stories.”
(Interview by Alison Flood in The Guardian, 16 Oct ’18)
This obviously worked for Anna Burns as she has just bagged the Booker Prize with her novel Milkman.
I, however, have spent a lifetime waiting for characters to turn up and write themselves into a book but they haven’t done so yet and I’m rather starting to fear they never will. I go to bed having put out my finest stationery but masterpieces come there none. Not so much as a shopping list; not so much as a tweet. Perhaps the characters have used up all their best ideas writing other people’s books. They have no more twists.
It’s March the first, hey nonny no, and my muse, like my garden, is frozen.
I made a bash this morning at a blog on the theme of snowy days in school which inched towards the spell-binding conclusion that children like snow and cleaners don’t. So if today is cold and miserable, well – at least I spared you that.
So I’m going to palm you off with some pictures of our most recent visitor. Stay warm, stay safe; speak soon.
“The thing is, before I retired, I used to rush around on a Sunday trying to get everything done. But I’m finding now that I say ‘I’ll do this, that and the other tomorrow’ and do something else instead. Then whatever it was never gets done. Do you find that?”
“It’s Mrs Jellywoman, isn’t it?”
I am at the gym (thanks for all the helpful hints – so far, so good), face to face with a jolly woman, probably in her mid-sixties. Though she might be ninety-eight but really, really benefiting from regular work-outs. She does look familiar but I can’t quite place her. I’m vaguely thinking Jacob’s nan; Jacob, whose suggestion for a word containing the ‘ee’ sound was “weed – like what you smoke.” Maybe, maybe not…
Life can turn on a sixpence.
Ann from next door and I were chatting yesterday whilst sweeping leaves off the pavement. Ann has an uncle – we’ll call him Pat – in his mid-nineties. He’s been married for forty-seven years to his second wife. Let’s call her Jess. She’s about ten years younger than Uncle Pat, so mid-eighties. There are two sons, both abroad.
I’ve had a cover story ready from the start.
If you’ve read my first blog, you’ll remember that I’ve always intended to blame a bite from a radioactive trifle in a freak Ocado delivery. And that I can now become JellyWoman at will, with the amazing super-power of being able to slide under doors.
“It’s all right to listen, Miss Sugarsprinkles. It’s not at all rude.”
“Are you sure, Mrs Jellywoman?”
“Quite sure, Miss Sugarsprinkles. Please don’t worry.”
“I’ll just wash up the paint-pots, then.”
“Please do.” Continue reading →
I’ve had an email wanting my approval for the following comment on yesterday’s blog:
“Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It if truth be told used to be
a entertainment account it. Look complicated to far delivered
agreeable from you! However, how can we keep up a correspondence?”
Well, that’s told me!