27 July 2011

Staying Indoors To Write

About a third of the way through editing Spy Rock Memories, Part 7. It's the longest chapter yet, and really needs to be cut down by about 2,000 words (why, I ask myself, did I feel the need take several days to write all those words if it's going to take me several more days to throw them out again?).

But the real question is: it's a glorious sunny day in New York City. Summer is fast fading away. There are a million (well, two or three, at least) things I could or should be doing outdoors instead. To stay inside and write or to go outside and do whatever?

I guess it all depends on how important I consider this work, and how urgently I feel it needs to be done. In 2005, London enjoyed the sunniest and warmest summer in almost 30 years (if you're at all familiar with English weather, you'll be aware how remarkable this can be), and I spent all but a couple days of it sequestered in my dimly lit north-facing room frantically trying to finish a 160,000 word story of my life that at the time seemed vitally important "Why?" my friend Paul frequently challenged me, "Have you got publishers camped on your doorstep with bags of money who just can't wait to get their hands on that manuscript?"

As it happened, he was quite right; not only were there no publishers, with or without bags of money, but while I did finish the manuscript, right about the time the chilly winds of autumn began stripping the last leaves from the trees, it never went further than a box under my bed, where I believe it still rests today, unread and unmissed by anyone other than a handful of friends and a couple of agents.

So why, six years later, does it seem similarly important to turn my back on summer in order to complete a still more obscure story, one about a mountain where only a handful of people ever lived, and that only a slightly greater handful of people has ever heard of?

I have no idea, except that maybe I'm six years older, and if it doesn't get done soon, I don't know if I'll ever find the time and energy to do it. Anyway, if you were wondering where I am on this beautiful last Wednesday in July, that's where. If it's any consolation, at least my writing room is now a south-facing one, and a fair bit of sunshine manages to come streaming in.

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