Writing purdah . . .
I read today’s blog from the inimitable Stephen Fry (http://www.stephenfry.com) where he says he must withdraw from the world to finish his next book.
He says: ‘Some people can write with ease in whatever circumstances they find themselves. Up a tree, on a bus, in a log cabin, a steamy-windowed café or a tropical beach. Some don’t mind noise, distraction or a broken up day. I, unhappily, am not made of this material. I need peace, absolute peace, an empty diary and zero distraction. I enter a kind of writing purdah, an eremitical seclusion in which there is just me, a keyboard and abundant cups of coffee, all in a room whose curtains have been drawn against the light.’
I understand what he means. I am about to begin some long hours and days of editing and whilst I draw the line at copious coffee (makes me jittery) or the blinds closed (even in summer I would get the SADs and cabin fever), I am actually leaving family in town and going to the beach-shack, ostensibly to write. I’ll take the dogs because I need their company and I shall definitely swim and walk because my mind and body can’t really go into such heavy isolation as S.Fry demands for himself.
But I have an end result in mind, and already the ms is changing and my fingers are itching to accomplish the required edits. My writing space is a folding table set up against some ancient windows that open to the breeze and the noise of the waves and overlooking the garden. The laptop sits there, along with research files and the dictionary and thesaurus. My plan is to work consistently, quietly and with commitment until I have done what is required by the editor.
Stephen goes on to say: “Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.”
There are only a few times in my life where I am lonely, inevitably when the man in my life and I are apart. For the rest of the time I love solitude, the glory of being alone, to create, to observe, to soak up the surroundings into the senses. So I shall experience both glory and pain in this excercise.
Unlike Stephen and because of the above mentioned details, I guess I’m only going into semi-purdah but the desire is the same and I hope the end result for both Mr.Fry and myself matches our expectations.