In a book I acquired some time ago, a sage advised that the first thing a writer should do, every morning, is download whatever crap is in their head into a journal. That way the scattered junk in your mind can be swept away, along with the torrent of words. Dumped onto a page. Gone. Excised.
And so, for the first time in months, I am doing just that. I’m applying pen to paper (this being the transcription), having lapsed recently into the bad habit of typing directly into my iPad. I feel the difference. These words here. Straight from my head, through my fingers and into the pen that scrawls illegibly onto a Moleskine notepad. It feels like a direct connection that I’ve missed for a while. Spontaneity. Direct and less prone to the temptation of instant editing that you get with a computer or tablet.
It’s not to suggest that anything I write today will be any good. I doubt that it will, but then, perhaps, that’s just my inner critic speaking. My greatest foe and has been in recent times too much in the ascendant.
So. I am at a writers retreat. Away from the distractions of normal life, to buy some time and space. I’m sitting at a simple wooden desk, in a little cottage on a high hilltop, looking across miles of forested glens to distant northern mountains, still tippped here and there with snow. The world is turning green. The air is filled with bird song and the honey smell of gorse.
I may have to close the curtains. Let’s see what happens next…