Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Take It Easy

So, how are you all this morning? One sure thing in life is change, and the last few weeks have blindsided me time and again (including, at last, being allowed to move out of the company compound - nicknamed 'Alcatraz' - as long as it was in 10 days flat). Meanwhile, the pilot's been flying non-stop everywhere from Shanghai to NY to Montreal, (from where he sent this photo - yes, that's The Beauty Chorus, under Dan Brown :)

It's still crazily fun seeing the book out there in the wild - and it's great hearing back from readers who are making the story their own - including a girl who saw this article in my 'old boy' alumni magazine (I feel a little like the prodigal child appearing in this ... but then we did have an Ondaatje Hall at school, donated by the philanthropist brother of the author, and I believe his school career was interesting too ...).

It's been a steep learning curve this year, getting used to the rhythm of publication. While 'The Beauty Chorus' is getting ready to come out in paperback in a couple of months, I'm writing a new story, and proofs of the next book 'The Perfume Garden' are being printed. This Spanish story is something that I put heart and soul into, so it's exciting and scary to think of it 'out there' next year. Maybe it's good to feel nervous - like stage fright sharpens a performance. Frank Delaney - who's a great writer to follow on Twitter @FDbytheword, said recently:  'Emotional energy is as real as the physical kind. If you’ve done truly good work, as good as you can make it, you’ll be exhausted'. Do you find that true? I wonder if it is the same with any creative act - writing, acting, painting? 

I was thinking about Delaney's words this morning. All the plants I thought the fierce aircon in the apartment had killed have come back to life in the new garden. They were just exhausted, or thought it was winter - in the space of a couple of weeks, the baobab is in leaf, the bougainvillea is blazing, and my gardenia's in bloom ...

These were taken just now - nothing on earth like the scent of freshly watered gardenias on a cool sunny morning. Heaven. Anyway, enough boondoggling and down to work. I was just thinking as I was drinking my coffee on the back doorstep that maybe we're like these plants. If you take care of the basics - fresh air, plenty of water - and take it easy on yourself, pretty soon the next story comes along. Have a great day x

TODAY'S PROMPT: We've talked before about the need for 'fallow fields' - Cameron called it 'filling the well', a time to rest and build back your creative energy. You can't pour out good work if you're running on empty. So what does it for you? For me, always, it's the beach, countryside, great music, art, (reading also, but - maybe you're the same - if a book's good I just find myself analysing how the author did that), or something as simple as a cup of coffee and watering the plants. It's amazing how if you give yourself a little time you bounce back from feeling like you couldn't write a shopping list let alone another novel. If you can carve out even a few minutes a day for yourself to do something you *love* outside the daily demands of family/friends/work it pays back a hundred times over.  What are you going to do today?
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