On Writing

I woke up into grey silence this morning. It was sliding through the gap in my curtains. I felt particularly cosy. My duvet, light but warm, was wrapped between my legs. My face nestled in my down pillows. Not a black bird whistled. How lovely, I thought, and stretched out my legs. I turned on my side. I don’t have to do anything immediately, I’ll go back to sleep. A thought inveigled its way through.

You haven’t written for weeks.’

I write a poem every week,  I counteracted, slipping my hand under my pillow. And I have my mother staying, and I’m busy running a workshop (I must bring them that character description by Karl Ove Knausgaard today and bake biscuits for them today). And AT The Edge, Cavan went well last night. I was tired. And today I have to take the car to the garage and do a shop, walk the dog, swim…

You are supposed to be a writer’, I interrupted. ‘You tell your workshop participants to write every day and you’ve stopped. A poem a week doesn’t cut it.’

I turned over. What will I write about?

‘Just write’.

So I opened my eyes, dragged myself up the pillow into a sitting position. I fumbled for my glasses, dragged my notebook from my bed table, turned on the light. Do you know how hard it is just to write!

Good morning, everyone.

Ok, I’ll write my blog. And then I’ll start revising the collection of short stories that I thought I had finished but it turns out I haven’t. While walking yesterday, I decided to totally revamp them. You know writing is a very messy business. At least I find it so, I never know what I am doing which is a tad unsettling. And I don’t know if I’m rewriting it because it needs changing or I’m rewriting because I don’t know what else to do with it. Or if I’m rewriting so I don’t have to write something else! I just have to go with it, I guess, because I know it’s not right as it is.

Karl Knausgaard captures the difficulties of writing perfectly in his new book, A Man in Love. He deals with the writing by writing about his everyday life (hum, am I copying him now?)  and emotions as a writer and a lover. He describes the prevarications of the body and soul. He writes about his experience of falling in love and having his first child. He writes and describes everything in such detail: his flights of fancy, his drunken bouts, his attitudes to people, his shame, his lack of shame, his love, his anger. He took pages to describe the detail of a children’s birthday party: the tensions between the children, the strain between the adult parents, the almost violent undercurrents that existed in the kitchen (where the parents were) and the marauding children in the rest of the flat. But it was an ordinary everyday children’s birthday party. It was perfect. I wish I could write as well.

You will, if you write every day…

There, that’s a good way to end.  I’ll go and get a cup of tea, then, of course, I’ll have to feed the animals….I can start my revisions tomorrow before I go to Galway. Actually, I’ll just have a little read now. Reading…it’s a part of writing,  it’s one of the perks of the job. Totally justified!

kate asleepkate asleep 2


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