Just before 0500 this morning and full of wondrous ideas, I set out the tools of my chosen retirement trade and sat down to write.
Lenovo lap-top fired up with a blank page of Word (sadly, in that regrettable horror of Windows 8. But never mind, the scroll on the right-hand side does in fact work if you can only operate it before a dark column appears. If your hand isn’t fast enough to reach the appropriate scroll arrow in time, it’ll frustratingly cut off your intentions and offer instead, diverse computer operational choices).
Tabs set and ready for easy access to both Oxford Dictionary, Thesaurus and Google Maps (the latter to ensure geographical accuracy).
A large mug of creamy and fresh-made coffee (only one sugar nowadays though).
A plate of buttered toast ready for a generous application of Sandy’s home-made ginger marmalade from Gatehouse Farm, Elham (well, she deserves the commercial plug).
Enthusiastically and brimming with confidence, hope and ideas, I start work.
A little over four and a half hours later at 0930 and I’m sitting in front of seven pages of variations covering the same wretched chapter’s opening paragraph which I commenced yesterday. That was the one I clearly determined to finish in one swiftly decisive effort this morning, before advancing into the field of startlingly interesting prose which I foresaw in the night.
This, my friends is known as ‘Block’ and I now fully comprehend Oscar Wilde’s feelings when he recorded that one of his mornings’ work resulted in the insertion of a comma just before lunch. Following the ensuing afternoon’s extensive deliberations, he eventually took the comma out again and retired for the day.
Why, oh why, did I not heed my father’s advice?
He clearly said, “Write it all down as the ideas come into your mind. If you really feel you must, revise it for typographical and other errors at the end of the day. NEVER, repeat NEVER, revise something more than once in the same day. Just leave it for many days, or until the words are strange to you - as if reading them for the first time. THEN and not before, is the time to carry out your definitive revision.”
But then again, my children also will often scorn my own advice born of significant experience … …
So - the question now is, when are they open?