I had just begun to cook dinner when my neighbour rang.
“Have you got water?”
“Yes, I replied, turning on the tap. Only to discover we didn’t. On investigation, we learned a water main had burst along the road.
Now I didn’t need water at that moment. I already had hot stock for the risotto I was making, so there was no need for me to use the tap at all, so why did I suddenly feel deprived?
And that got me thinking.
It’s always the same with me. Tell me I can’t have or do something and immediately that is what I want. Power cut? I want to boil the kettle, or dry my hair. Bake a cake. I want to plug in the iron. Why? I don’t iron. Or not much. I can do without an iron for weeks on end if necessary. But not the computer. Tell me there is a power cut and I am cut off from the world. Even without all the social media, how will I write? I used to be happy enough with a pad of delicious paper and a nice pen – got a bit of a thing for pens. Have loads of them. Some are ordinary, some brightly coloured, one is full of little purple Swarovski crystals and I’ve even got one of those astronaut pens that writes up in space and upside down and under water. But I no longer write with them. OK, that’s rubbish, of course I write with them, I just don’t write my books with them.
I used to do all my writing longhand until a writing tutor pointed out that it made two jobs where one would do. Made sense. So I tried sitting in front of a blank screen instead of a blank piece of paper, and it felt pretty much like the same thing, so I went with it. Now I have a Pavlovian reaction to the screen, but faced with a piece of paper I’m inclined to scribble shopping lists. Tea, butter, sugar, eggs …. this will not impress an agent or a publisher.
Anyway, as I say, it got me thinking. Why do I always want what I can’t have? And is that why I am so doggedly determined to write my novels – because some agent/publisher keeps telling me no? There has certainly been plenty of ‘no’ in my writing career up until now. But then, there have been several replies of the maybe kind, and several magazines have said yes and I still keep writing short stories.
So on reflection, I don’t think it is. I think it is because I love to write and it always has been just that. No matter what, I do write every day. And if the electricity disappeared overnight, I dare say there would be a day or two of staring at the screen and willing the letters to appear on it, but then I would go back to doing what I used to do: scribbling in a book.
Has to have nice paper though. None of that horrible thin rubbish.
Now if all the nice paper in the world disappeared ….
Please don’t make me write in the sand. The tide will wash it all away.
Reminds me. Try the tap.
Yes! Water’s back on.