Usual Cure

Wheelbarrows at Souq Waqif If I get my morning wordcount in, I can go to the hardware store and get the single piece I need to repair the dishwasher door. The glamour of the writing life, right there. I also have a mad idea of pricing wheelbarrows and concrete forms–there’s a space in the backyard where grass won’t grow, so I’m thinking a tiny cobblestone-concrete patio with moss coming up between the stones. Irish moss, perhaps. Given the sheer amount of acid pine needles that fall in the yard, it’s probably for the best, and the entire northern half of the yard could probably use a labyrinth or a quarters-garden. I’m still thinking and planning that.

This summer will be busy, and if I’m working in the yard it will mean I have plenty of dirt under my fingernails to grow a novel or two. I’ve been feeling scraped-thin lately (butter over too much bread, like Mr Baggins) and yesterday things somewhat bottomed out. To restore my faith and confidence, I turned to my usual cure: telling other people what I admire and like about them, and thanking them. It works wonders when one is down very, very low.

A good session of writing a trunk novel (there may or may not be Conan the Barbarian fanfic running around inside my head) and watching Seven Samurai helped, too. The Princess came in, and we marveled at Kurosawa together. He takes exactly as long as every scene should take, no more and no less, and he isn’t afraid to stay on a character’s face and show the myriad small changes that can happen in even the most phlegmatic of people. He drew out the very best in his actors, too, though it must have been gruesomely hard on them–sort of like one actress’s (I think it was Michelle Williams?) comment on Ang Lee, that he isn’t satisfied until he gets the raw emotional honesty in a scene, and it can break an actor down. Difficult work.

I suppose writing is somewhat easier, in the sense that there’s not a pile of people around watching you bare yourself while you’re creating. The jabbing and jeering comes later. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure it’s easier. Any sort of creation is like walking naked down the street, really.

With that cheerful thought, I’ll get back to the superspies and a shootout, probably in El Paso. That’s another thing about writing–the pleasures are largely solitary, but my goodness they are deep.

Over and out.