Mensis horribilis

I was all set. Had it all planned out. Today’s blog was to be about my own fear of criticism; I was going to open up about my weaknesses, that sometimes – no matter how prepared you think you are – words hurt bad. I would confess that I needed time to build up my defences before wading back into Night Shift.

I was going to do this – nay, I had done this. I drafted my entry on Monday, read it over on Tuesday and was all set to publish it today.

And then my computer died.

All things considered, it has not been the best of months for me. It began with my prospective agent being disappointed in my work (actually this was in April, but I think you can give me a little leeway here), proceeded with an unexpected week in hospital that resulted in general anaesthetic, many stitches and much pain, before May culminated in the death of my motherboard.

This, in and of itself, is not a massive tragedy. My files are safe, I’m sure: the hard drive should be unaffected. But I can’t get at my writing. I am bereft. Like I’ve lost a limb. I have no reason to get out of bed in the morning. I stagger down into the living room and gaze longingly at the empty space, fall to my knees and weep…

I exaggerate. Slightly.

Technology is, for better or worse, a key part of the writers’ arsenal these days. When I started writing seriously I took pride in creating my first drafts longhand before typing them up. This gave way before the inevitable march of Time. It simply took too long to create using this laborious – but beautiful – method. I used to scribble myself little notes in the margins and, when stuck, doodle abstractly and abstractedly, creating little flowers and curvilinear, menacing shapes around the edges. I miss that, and the coffee shops (I miss you, Norwich Playhouse) I used to write in.

Now my crucible is the computer screen, the keyboard my stylus. Duller? Much – but not that different really. The pictures are all in the mind anyway and, whilst I don’t have a room of one’s own, an office and a personal space, this area is still me. I have my music. I have my Muse. And now that has been taken away from me. Temporarily, yes – but a day feels like a week when you know there are things you should be doing, that you are ready, ready to create and you can’t.

So for now all I can do is a bit of brain-work; keep up with my reading (the best homework anyone could ever have), work a little on characters and envisionments – you have to be able to see a space in order to make it feel real for your audience, even if you never actually describe it – and try and fix this bloody machine. All whilst still going to work and trying to be social and ungrumpy and – dammit – normal. Never did like normal. It just ain’t me.

Seems like this year May just had it in for me.

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