As I write the trees perform a dance for me right in front of the window. They bend themselves into enviable positions, their limbs agile and supple. Graceful. I wish I could bend like they do, stretch myself out and tilt my body to the ground. I cannot, yet I watch them transfixed from my stance at this purring computer, this cold piece of technology feeling as rigid and restless as the same silver screen before me.
I had to double check the calendar today to make sure that it was May and not January. The gales blow furiously in from the Atlantic and the rain falls in angry torrents on the house and the garden. I battled my way down to check on the damage and found the spinach and lettuces struggling and battered looking. The peas devoured by a sly Magpie, the one that lives up in the high trees belonging to the neighbour. The one that watches me plant and hoe and kneel and toil to the earth. I noted how the only untouched growth happened to be the potatoes, thriving and rising high above the drills we cut out for the purpose. Must be the native ability in them, the right to thrive under difficult circumstances, the plant that kept us, the Irish, going for years until the famine struck and then we floundered.
But it is easy to flounder here. It is easy to look out the window and want to draw the blinds.Yes, you have to possess something more to survive in this climate, this dire Ireland. One has to see beyond the grey and the rain and the horrendous wind battering the house and one has to strive to be better.
I wrote this morning. Yes.I am determined to write no matter what. Maybe it was the storm that kept me centered. I think so. It sat me down in my chair with a steaming cup of coffee. The house still. All sons accounted for in foreign places. Middle son off to Work Experience at the local TV station. Young son playing rugby in the rain. Oldest son finishing off his journalism course. To where now do you go son, I probe of him. He struggles with the answer. And I say well you simply take the next step on the ladder. That is all you can do.
Writing a novel is taking a series of steps, isn't it? You get on the rung and you can only move upward. No point in thinking about the middle and the end. All will come in time. That is how I feel anyway, about life, about writing, about the weather, about the garden. What will be will be. All comes in its own way but of course, yes, there always has to be a little sweat and a little fear and a little doubt and a smidgen of self belief first. I think my characters speak. I think about them as I made Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs tonight. As I grated the Parmesan Cheese. As I pet the dogs. As I walk in the bog. I know one thing about my writing and that is that I cannot contrive my characters. I know them. I have met them, had coffee with them, despised and loved them. That's what writing is about, right? Opening up all the secrets you keep in your mind about people and events that might otherwise go unsaid.