Sometimes setbacks feel so very daunting that it’s hard to see how or whether one’s pursuit of any particular project is worthwhile. In writing, in particular, this feeling must be so pervasive as to drive so very many authors to despair. I’ve had this sense of banging into a wall for several days now, amplified by yet another rejection, and not coincidentally by the sense that anyway, if chatbots exploring every possible permutation of human existence are just around the corner, what hope is there for a lonely individual to contribute something new?
I’ve wondered, quite frankly to myself, whether memoir is not the only way forward, whether one’s actual lived experience is the most salient, unique thing to explore, rather than furtive, fictive forays. Anyway, today is a day of steady, physical perseverance, with little time again for sitting at the keyboard.
Perhaps as the rising sun burns through the heavy frost, and as my blood circulates, warming, throughout my labouring body, I shall experience a new sense of writing mission. Or perhaps not. What matters today is the doing, and, oh yes, the anticipation of the big bonfire of all the past years’ accumulated wooden detritus we mean to set up and light tomorrow in the field.
The re-joining of that separated guttering high up at the top of the side kitchen, the one the wind has bashed about. The shifting of stuff out of the middle shed to await collection by my scrap-metal friend, who will also help me tomorrow. The bringing in of sufficient wood for a week of warmth in the living room. The removal of all the LEGO boxes from one shed to another more appropriate one for staged and ultimate moving. The clearing of Harry Hymer in preparation for his big MOT on Monday. Lots of good physical jobs to keep me busy, to keep my mind from racing about in dwindling circles of disappointment.
In these activities, in the sheer persistence of effort, I shall expect to find some joy, if my body lets me. And then, with some trepidation, I may return late in the day to the keyboard, to think, to try to create something new.