There’s been silence on the blog, and let me tell you, silence on all other writing fronts. It would be depressing if it wasn’t just another dip of many in the writing sine curve; in the last few weeks I’ve been alternately elated and obsessed with my own shortcomings. During these darker periods everything I hear is a reflection of my own perverted image of myself as a writer; someone tells me I have a strong background in politics, for instance, and that it might be fun to utilize this, and I hear “you’re worthless!”. Luckily I think I’ve reached, for the time being, a happy middle ground, and, with the help of a new haircut, a new study, and a new idea, I might be able to resume writing as usual.
The new haircut? Probably incidental to the creative process, but every little helps. Perhaps what was weighing me down was not my own lack of confidence after all, but split ends and an overgrown fringe. The new study? An attempt to force myself into a new routine. It still overlooks the garden, but it’s upstairs. Lack of proximity to the tea kettle worries me slightly, but then, it might be easier to block out the rest of the world from upstairs. And the new idea–or, rather, the new take on the old idea? I’m not telling, not yet, but it involves, in addition to the usual (Oxford, psychology of place, literary ghosts), Don Quixote, the modern novel, a sequel, the first world war, and a lot of work. I think it’s gonna be good.
For reasons totally unrelated to the book, I’ve been reading some of P.G. Wodehouse’s letters recently, and I’m convinced that this is why I’m not as worried as usual over my recent spell of creative impotence. Late in his life, Wodehouse, already an enormously successful and prolific author, still both enjoyed the process of writing, and struggled with it greatly. In one letter he tells a friend he’s had to rewrite the beginning of a new novel many times, that he’s been working for months and that it’s only now coming together. I feel like that about this one.
We’re having a heat wave. It’s nice; it’s strange. I walk around in a daze all day. Any energy that hadn’t already been sapped by my worries over the book has now bled out into the sunlight, become more heat. I take long naps on the couch when I’m not at work and listen to the songs from the ice-cream truck. Sometimes I think the whole city has gone mad; we’re under the influence of someone else’s circus-dream.