Monday, 1 August 2011

Dog days and holidays

A week by the sea – not a thought spared for writing, even emails – and there’s a curious lightness to my being, a certain liberty from all things cerebral that is enlightening and emancipating.

A more enterprising would-be writer would count a holiday as a break to really get down to some serious writing. Not me. I’d rather relish the things that live and play outside my head, rather than the characters that inhabit it daily, crying out for dialogue, action, plot.

So, I’ve come home. They haven’t. They’ve been away, too, God knows where, and at this point I don’t really care. It’s hot, the AC isn’t strong enough, my desk sits in direct sunlight. An added fan brings some relief, yet still my hot brain doesn’t want to write. I’m still on a beach. My toes are in the sand, my head under a straw hat. My heart is still cooling itself in the ocean. I no more want to sweat it out with a passel of words that need re-arranging and rewriting than do the proverbial flight to the moon.

My characters all live in England. It’s November there, it’s rainy a lot of the time, and there’s angst and a few murders to be solved. They’re all wearing wool suits and good stout shoes and it’s cold. There’s fog, drizzle and each home, office or building they enter and inhabit is damp, moldy, and without central heat. All in all, it’s a world away from our hot summer. A bit of cold damp is highly appealing right now, but how to get there? How to recapture the presence and personalities of those characters that were carefully produced and assembled in my head? I’ve missed their foibles and strengths, curiosity and courage, but I’m reluctant, in these dog days of our brief summer, to plunge into their world again.

Those experts are right: One must write every single day, otherwise you risk losing your momentum, your flow, your initiative. Seems mine went out with the tide and didn’t return.

But write I must, heat or no heat. The people in my head seem to be returning, even as I plunk away here at the keyboard, and they’re beginning to hammer at the door to my overheated creativity. They want out again. They want to get back to work. They tell me they were at the seaside, too, walking the beach, dining out, gazing at stars, breathing that energizing sea air. They enjoyed the break from the November rain, they say. Now it’s time to get back to solving those appalling murders. Fun is fun, but justice is far more important, they say. So get over it and get back to it.

The dog days, at least for now, seem to be over. So are my holidays.