I am coming to the end of the packing, sorting, storing, jettisoning process. And not a moment too soon as I think my friends have had just about enough of my whinging about it. It’s been difficult to get much writing done while these activities occupy my days. I’m usually a champion of writing no matter what, so it’s a bit unusual that I don’t write at all.
Of course when I say “I don’t write at all” I’m exaggerating, because there are these blog posts under my various names, lots of emails (far too many) and my constant chattering on Twitter. Once it gets to be a habit, it’s hard to stop writing. I notice that if I’m not doing enough writing my head tends to fill with hornets. Not pleasant to have a head full of hornets buzzing to be written down and released.
But to conjure that magic circle of concentration, it takes time and effort, something I’m short on now. The physical act of winnowing my belongings and sorting through them, however, has made me think how much it’s like editing your work after that first mad draft. The process of figuring out what you need as opposed to what you just happen to like is the same whether you’re talking about books to put in storage or prose that wanders from the narrative a little too far.
It’s important not to let fatigue make the decisions; with deadlines though sometimes that happens. All my things have to be sorted one way or another by the 31st; generally with writing I don’t have such draconian deadlines, but at present I have a piece that’s overdue and niggling at the back of my mind. There’s simply nothing I can do about it at present; it’s an academic essay and I can’t really do the edits in spare moments between packing boxes. It’s going to take a big block of time — which will have to be after the 31st. Let’s hope I can work my magic on it!
Fumée d’Ambre Gris (Smoke of Ambergris) by John Singer Sargent