I've been thinking a lot about teddy bears called Muhammad, and I'm tempted to indulge in a declamation of my views on the topic, but not today. The other thing occupying my thoughts right now is Shaun Levin's latest blog entry. It's long, but well worth your time.

I found several parts of it haunting. There's the bit about writers writing because it makes them look busy. (Reminds me of a throwaway comment on a recent episode of Open Book where a writer said, "I just LOVE my work. I can stare at it for hours and hours.") There's the part about being a teenager and finding inspiration in goings-on in distant lands. And there's the line where Shaun mentions that he's been working on his current book for about seven years.

That REALLY got to me.

I've been wrestling with my novel for about twenty months now and the prospect of another five years (at least!) of trying to get to grips with characters and plots fills me with sheer, tear-inducing, heart-palpitating desperation...

... a sensation similar to what I experienced the other evening. The Divine L was away on a business trip (which doesn't happen very often) and I was home alone. I'd tidied my room a bit. I'd checked my emails. I'd spent some time helping someone with a project they're working on. And then I decided to do some ironing. And whilst I was in the middle of straightening a sleeve, I became aware of a feeling of total solitude. And I thought to myself that if ever anything should happen to the Divine L - God forbid - this is how 'things' would be: I'd do my ironing; I'd put the ironing board away; I'd hang up my shirts; I'd brush my teeth; I'd make myself a cup of tea to drink whilst flicking through a magazine; I'd turn off my computer; and I'd get into bed without having spoken to anyone or shared a thought or an observation or a mood.

Tears were induced and heart palpitated.

And I wonder if that's one of the reasons why I often find my novel so difficult to write: because its completion would be like the loss of a most intimate, most crucial companion.


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