Small dog has to be the quintessential writing companion. For a start she is extremely quiet, non-judgemental, undemanding and adaptable. She also happens to adore routine and so once I place her blanket on the sofa bed in my office, turn on the space heater, make a pot of coffee, grab a pillow for my back (due to incredibly uncomfortable chair which needs to be replaced), switch on the laptop, ensure that I have enough pens and paper to hand, then, all that is required is for me to call out her name and she appears at the door, tip toes in, hops her little body up onto the sofa, snuggles into her blankie and closes her eyes. Once I compliment her on prompt behaviour, nothing more is said.
Silence is a beautiful thing.
My writing room hosts a large pane of glass that looks out onto the patio that is, of late, strewn with all kinds of debris, especially small branches and large swabs of moss, the moss ripped off the roof slates during some of the worst gales I've experienced in the almost eighteen years of living here. Three snowdrops, impossibly fragile, shiver like ballerinas in the small flower bed that runs alongside the wall. As you can see the patio is prone to distract me but I allow it to, it is part of the process.
Now and then we all tend to write about 'blocks', those lonely fallow periods when nothing comes. When inspiration is a distant memory, when you read something you have written in the fertile period and wonder how on earth you wrote it.
It is time for me now to plough the fallow page and so I tentatively approach the white stretch where the horizon, possibly due to the dazzle, appears not to be visible. Words come dripping out. I connect them. Delete them. Write them again. And time becomes irrelevant. Now and then I read aloud a piece of something I've written to Small dog. When she hears my voice, she opens her bog water eyes and fixes them on me. They are devoid of criticism. Eventually she returns to her dog dreams, her Winter nap.
My phone beeps at four. A text from my son; 'Mom, I thought you were picking me up'! Sugar, I forgot. I rise back into the place I left behind three hours before. I kiss the room goodbye, I hope the snowdrops keep moving because if they stop they might snap in the angry gale. I tell the words I've conceived that I will see them soon.
On the way to the car I pass through the kitchen. I open the fridge to discover that it is almost bare of supplies. I need to hit the store. Oh well, it is impossible to have it all. It's either a feast or a famine. Right? There is no other way.