I’ve become a bit of a stranger on the blog. Sorry about that but I’m working on my magnum opus and it leaves little energy and few words at the end of the day. And I would need both of these in abundance to create the more formal articles about writing and about places that I usually post here. But as I approach the completion of my work-in-progress, I thought I’d write a few brief personal posts about how it is coming along, and they will be brief.
My work is a cultural history of storytelling – too soon for a title-reveal – and I am literally half a dozen pages from the end of six years work. All except the last two chapters have already been professionally edited, so completion is truly in sight. It feels exciting but also scary. Those last few words of a book are the most difficult to write. It’s like packing for a one-way journey: have I included essential items, have I wasted space with things that are not needed, have I allowed for every contingency, did I say goodbye to everyone and leave a note for the milkman? When we travel we meet many people who sum us up on what they see: the book will be read by many people who will do the same. Once you are ‘on the road’ there is no turning back to pop another pair of socks into the suitcase or give a last instruction to your neighbour.
Under this pressure, there are times when I’m not sure which sentence to write next, or feel something is missing but I don’t know what. Usually in this situation I run about a bit to get more oxygen to the brain, make another cup of tea, nibble a hazelnut. But lately I’ve lain flat on my back and tried to empty my mind … and within five minutes, words, phrases, ideas are nudging my brain and I get up to start scribbling. That is how I had the idea for this blog post. I don’t care what works, I’ll do it – though standing on my head might prove tiresome if not downright dangerous.
I’ll give you another update soon – probably about some super illustrations that are being created right now by someone else who may be running about, lying flat or standing on his head – I don’t care as long as it works for him.
And I hope that whatever you are doing is working for you.