1. Last night, a silvery-blue Labrador was running through my dreams. I told his person, “I love all your dogs, but him! He wrenches at my heart.” I made a motion, like I was wringing out a towel. I really loved that dog.
2. Grief never goes away. You just push it deeper into your heart. I think that’s the human condition. Until we find a cure for death, we’ll carry on with this doomed loving.
3. I’m writing every day. It’s hard to make a routine work. It’s natural for people to avoid routines, especially when their days are timetabled and there’s hardly any time left over for people and trees and dogs. But I’m writing every day.
4. Once upon a time, about seven years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought a terrible and confusing thought. This afternoon, I finally realised what it really meant, and how my mistaken understanding had led me so far away from where I was supposed to be. I saw it all clearly, in a flash of inspiration… and I laughed. What else can you do?
Wrote 400 words of a new short story yesterday. (Go me!)
After the thoughtful discussions here and on facebook yesterday about settings in fiction, I found myself having a very clear idea of when and where these new characters were. It’s interesting to remind myself that the very fact of writing about a place adds an element of fiction to a realistic setting. This can play out in lots of ways. For example, in my story ‘A Rose is Rose’, I had the same setting twice – once as a fictionalised version of a real place, and then as a highly stylised fictionalised version of the same place, where the added fictional elements came from the imagination of the character in the ‘realistic’ setting.
Setting is endlessly interesting and, in my opinion, central to storytelling of all kinds.
I am currently reading ‘Baba Yaga Laid an Egg’, by Dubravka Ugrešić, which is not as good as I want it to be. But maybe I’m being a bit unfair – I’m waiting for my copy of 1Q84 to arrive, which I think is going to be awesome, and I’m just passing time with this book until it arrives.
Am still lurgified. Dog is depressed because of the fireworks every night. I’m thinking about buying an early bird membership for WFC 2013 in Brighton. Going to try to get a bit further with my new story today.
Until tomorrow, then!
Blogging is a steep learning curve. Now I know never to slight cats in public again. They have their defenders. More surprisingly (to me), they have actual haters. I felt a bit embarrassed that people assumed I was a cat hater, when all I’d said was that cats are evil. Which is hardly contentious at all, is it?
Anyway, let me put the record straight. The truth about cats and dogs is that I like both types of creatures very much. I do not, however, like guinea pigs or hamsters. So feel free to despise them if you wish.
I’ve decided that it would be a cool challenge for me to blog every day between now and the end of the year. The aim is to blog about what I’m writing and reading, of course – but inevitably there will be detours into dog-walking, alcohol, work and other adventures. I can’t help it. Be patient with me – I am finding my blogging feet.
Yesterday when walking the dog, I saw a cat sitting halfway up a tree. I don’t think it was stuck. It seemed to be perched there, trying to work out what the hell to do next. Luckily the dog didn’t notice it, and therefore did not try to chase it down and destroy it with loving chews. I hope that it has found its way home now.
It made me wonder: what is the best pet for a writer? Most writers I talk to have cats. They love their cats, post pictures of their cats making allegedly funny faces, ascribe to their cats all sorts of mysterious intelligence and clearly love them a lot. In fact, it’s tempting to believe that without a cat, you will never be a real writer.
Now, I’ve got nothing against cats. Oh, apart from their inherent EVIL, that is. (Torturing birds, biting the heads off rabbits, looking snooty…) But I think that a dog is the perfect pet for a writer. They are intelligent, peaceful, playful, always willing to listen, and they get you out of the house on a regular basis. This is important: writers who stay indoors all day long and don’t take long, leafy perambulations end up starved of inspiration. We need to go outside. A lot. Dogs make this happen.
Didn’t get as far as I wanted to yesterday with the new short story, so I’m going to turn off the internet and try to finish a first draft today. In the meantime, you can argue about whether cats or dogs are the best pets. (Clue: the answer is ‘dogs’.)