Finding a design that suits the essence of one’s story is one of the most exciting and daunting parts of publishing.For me, this new novel is an excursion into a new genre, a passage into a new style – contemporary fiction.
This summer is so dry. We had slightly mad rain burst about 3 weeks ago and since then, nothing. The only bonus is that the weather is cooler and tonight, it has the chill evening feel of approaching autumn. But the truth is the garden is tired. There are few flowers and very little colour.
The vegetable garden still gives most generously on a daily basis and we continue to eat very well. Not missing meat at all. We have yet to pick Beurre Bosc pears, Sturmer and Granny Smith apples, and quinces.
So what do I have to show in the borders, if anything?
Spontaneity: Noun – a way of behaving in which you do what feels natural and good whenever you want, rather than planning things first. (Cambridge English Dictionary
Husband woke me this morning with a weather report. To be precise, a coastal waters report and the winds seemed God-given for my sort of day on the water.
As I continue to write Passage, I have discovered a number of questions that could only be answered by hiking up the Bishop and Clerk track on Maria Island.
OH and myself decided to catch the ferry today, do the climb and also grab the ranger and ask a few leading questions about retrieving injured hikers from the track, using walking, UTV’s or helicopter rescue.
OH and I are by no means bushwalkers.
We have a level of suppleness and fitness but we both have ‘issues’ – me with balance and a bad foot. He with permanent breathing problems and issues from his accident last year.
Today we tested ourselves.
I’ve had nothing much to talk about with my gardens due to the ongoing heatwave and drought. My garden began to close up on itself, plants ceased flowering, leaf edges became singed, and in fact my plant kingdom felt like I did. Badly in need of a cool change.
We finally got one on Wednesday – not so much a ‘cool’ change as a wet one. We received 40 mls of rain on the coast and 14 in the Matchbox Garden in the city. OH and self have had five days in the city, during which time we cut back and generally tidied up. It’s amazing how that tiny microclimate has kept itself moist and cool. So much so I was prompted to open plant catalogues.
But back to our bigger and more productive garden.
I need to be dressed to have a good go at my day. Unlike some writers, who seem to be able to function well all day in a pair of pyjamas, I’d feel as if I should be in bed, reading good fiction. And along with clothes, makeup and hair are de rigeur. For me it sets the scene for the day. It wakes me up and makes me feel better –therefore I’m more likely to write more smoothly. As long as…
…I have that first cup of tea for the day at about 10. It’s like being at the starting gates. I have a herbal tea and usually a sweet biscuit of some sort or other. It gives me a very gentle sugar hit. The tea settles my mind and body. I should be set to go…
…Except for the dog. He’s what we would call at the dog’s home at which I used to volunteer, a ‘T-dog’, meaning ‘Toilet-Dog’. It means he won’t soil his yard and must be walked in order to have his morning wee and poo. Would you let your dog sit with a pain in the belly whilst you write a book? Of course you wouldn’t.
So we go for a lovely walk to a park, a beach – wherever. He’s vastly relieved when we get home, I can tell you! And I can switch on my computer, locate the WIP, open that and…
…But wait! I forgot to see how everyone is this morning. Just quickly. Won’t take a minute and who knows what helpful links I might find. Oh look! There’s an email just popped up from the designer…
…with a mock-up for the cover for the new book. I look for additional images, we talk via email. As I walk to the kitchen to make another cup of tea with dog at my heels, my foot hurts, as it often does. So…
… I try on other shoes and fit new padding onto flexi-sole from the Sports Medicine specialist…
… and walk back to the computer. That feels better.
I begin to read what I wrote 3 days ago, getting back into the narrative, changing a word here, a comma there. And suddenly, after what seems like hours of self-inflicted delay, I’m away! But wait…
Unless I’m swimming in the ocean or in an air-conditioned house, I’m done like a dinner!
I used to lie under the trees with the dog but at 30+ Celsius every day, forget it.
So what does one do when one doesn’t want to be outside?
There’s always writing. Always. Annie sneaks in at odd hours when the muse tickles my fancy. I write at the beach, on the window seat, in the chair in the sunroom under the air-conditioning and in bed at night.
In addition, a writer’s office work is never done – I must update my tax information!
There’s also reading.
I bought English gardening magazines today because it’s too hot for me to play in my own garden and I can lust after frost-rimed and snow-trimmed gardens. I can feel the chill, revel in it!
Maybe not the Arctic Vortex that’s hitting America at the moment. That’s a step too far. But a cool change would be rather nice.
I noticed today that some of the poplars on the highway are a limp smoky amber. Way too early for autumn but there has been no rain since Oct-Nov and weeks of super-hot days, so it’s no wonder. Even our garden willows are shedding and some branches are turning a sickly yellow. The sky is tinged with the ever-present smoke, so everything looks like a prequel to Dante’s Inferno.
But back inside – there’s always embroidery.
A needle, some woollen or silk thread, some linen fabric.
Always something challenging and fascinating to stitch. New stitches, different designs. Spreading the wings a little.
Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 32 degrees. A swim is de rigeur. And then, when I’m moderately cooler, I’m going to sit and chat with Annie. Who knows where that will take us?
As summer continues to bake our garden, it becomes more difficult to find anything to talk about. One can bemoan the cost of the water with which we irrigate the garden on a heavy daily basis. One can whinge about the dry thunderstorms and the humidity immediately after. Or whine about the longing for an autumnal-styled day so one can work happily in the garden.