A guest will be sleeping in my study tonight, so I have to clean it up. A-r-rgh! I’m mid-book. This is what my desk looks like.
Those bits of paper are all the notes I make to myself as I’m going. There’s always a tea cup somewhere – headphones for listening to music (mostly classical – no words). On difficult writing days, I put on a CD and don’t let myself get up until it’s finished. Usually, somewhere during the 60 mins or so, the writing starts flowing again.
The book under the headphones is British Poetry Since 1945. If I’m stuck or blocked I often find reading poetry helps my mind to un-knot itself.
I just pick a random stanza from any old page, like this:
But somehow his arms had become just bits of wood
Somehow his guts were an old watch-chain
Somehow his feet were two old postcards
Somehow his head was a broken window-pane
‘I give up,’ he said. He gave up.
Creation had failed again.
(From Fifth Bedtime Story by Ted Hughes)
Don’t ask me how it works to read something like that (brilliant, isn’t it?) and then sail on with my own writing, but it often works. Not always, mind you.
Sometimes a chat with E helps. Or my last resort is to head off somewhere with pen and paper to THINK.
Oh, and you can see my old computer behind my laptop, because I just haven’t been able to bring myself to throw it out. But now, it must all be tidied. And I haven’t shown you the floor or the sofa where my poor guest must sleep.
It’s all creative mess, I assure you…