Monday, April 25, 2011

Hello, Aline here again. It's the Easter Monday bank holiday. Here in Britain, as you know, we are very traditional, and on Easter Monday it is the tradition to join the traffic jams on every motorway in the country, taking most of the morning to get to the beach, then most of the afternoon to get back, with a brief walk in teeming rain in the middle.

I've been burning up the miles myself recently, since spring is when writers come out of hibernation and there are festivals, conventions and conferences up and down the country. I'm recently back from the Crime Writers Association conference, which is purely a jolly so that we can all get together, drink too much and behave badly. And have competitions. This year's was a challenge: to find a one-word remark to put in the mouth of a celebrity. For instance: Torquemada: 'Comfy?' or Sarah Palin (on being told North Korea is not in Europe): 'Whatever!' But the winner –from a crime writer's husband, in fact – was Kate Middleton: 'No.'

Now, though, it's back to the padded cell, sitting in front of the computer on a Monday morning. Can anyone explain to me why it is, that when all I've ever wanted to do is write, when I have clear hours of what I like doing best ahead of me, when I have a head buzzing with the story I need to get down on paper, that I come up with an endless series of excuses for not actually going into my study and shutting the door? Why do I start worrying about the state of the kitchen floor, when last night it didn't bug me at all that I hadn't washed it? Why do I allow myself 'just one' game of Solitaire to get me started?

Is it, perhaps, that I'm reluctant because the glory of the story in my head, which is certainly going to be the best thing I – and indeed probably anyone else short of Tolstoy – ever wrote, diminishes little by little as I try to shape the dream into reality? It's a melancholy thought, but once I've given myself a pep talk and the narrative drive kicks in, I get the junkie's buzz and I don't want to stop when it's lunch-time. It's been wonderful, and I can't wait to get back to it – but somehow I know that next time I'll be making excuses all over again.


The Cat Bastet said...

Aline, in academia we have a saying that explains your dilemma: "No one has a cleaner house than a writer with a deadline." :)

Cathy Akers-Jordan
Davison, MI

Donis Casey said...

Dang, Cathy, I was about to say the same thing. My house is never cleaner than when I need to write. Nor do I ever make so many comments on blog posts.