Oh Superman - 11 November 2011
So, here I am again, things having stalled; I find myself in that place it seems I’d been running as fast as I could to reach, and now, having reached it, there is nothing to do but wait for something to happen. I could go and rake leaves from the lawn. I could mark students’ work; I could vacuum the fag ash from my son’s room and the dog hairs from everywhere else. I could – and this would be very much the wrong thing to do – read All the Beauty of the Sun again. Again! And fiddle about with a few commas? Oh come now. I’ll probably go blind if I read it again.
Anne Enright, prize winning novelist, wrote that if you think you are a good writer you most definitely are not. At the moment I must be the greatest writer who ever lived because All the Beauty seems as leaden, and at the same time over-wrought and purple and generally too heated, as anything I have ever written. So – if I think I’m a bad writer, does it follow that I’m a good writer – so therefore I must consider myself a good writer – meaning that I’m truly a bad writer. If you follow me. I think I’m losing the plot, literally and figuratively. Ms Enright: does anyone think they are a good writer? But if all writers think they are rubbish nothing would ever be published, and if something was published – oh, that old thing – knocked it out on a wet Tuesday afternoon – there would be lots of blushes and feet shuffling and a good deal of throat clearing and moving swiftly on, as husband Husband says when I’ve embarrassed myself.
Anyway, here I am with nothing much to do although in a few minutes the washing machine will have finished its cycle and I’ll leap on the wet shirts and pants and arrange them around the house to dry. And there are lots of leaves on the lawn and many weeds in the flower beds and I do have to go and see my mother and take her some lunch. After lunch (and The Archers) I could worry away at an embryonic novel I’ve started – but that’s just what I would be doing: worrying at something that needs not worry but a great deal of concentration and effort. Or I could twitter and try to drum up a few more followers that aren’t trying to sell me something (but I’ll be trying to sell them something – round and round we go…). There’s always the dog hair…
The sun is trying to come out. The sky is an odd, half-hearted grey and perhaps it’s only the yellow leaves remaining on the trees that make it seem sunny, a kind of impersonation of sun. I used to tell students not to write about weather; later I’d tell them to write about it only if weather was relevant. All the Beauty of the Sun has quite a lot of weather; it’s set in May – lots of weather during an English May: rain and sudden sunshine; wind and more rain; rainbows. Gosh, I bet you can’t wait to read it. Adulterous sex and weather, madness and guilt – purple as a bruise. I am such a good writer! Ha!
Of course, what I most want to do is phone our estate agent but I know I’ll only be pumped full of false hope, or, worse, have all my present small hopes quashed. It’s this – this hanging about looking mournfully at the phone (and even checking that it still has a dialling signal) that is making me so unable to concentrate on anything at all.
The estate agent has just this minute rang: all hopes well and truly dashed. But the washing machine will have spun its last by now, so off I go…Onwards and upwards. Are we down-hearted? No! My lovely girl is coming round and I have bought iced buns. Hurrah. Now here is a suitably weird song that I’ve been meaning to Velcro onto a blog post for weeks now. It’s long, it’s slightly boring – just like my day, in fact. Also quite brilliant, a contradiction.