Thursday, 31 March 2011

Senior Moments

We've all talked about forward planning in our lives and no less enthusiastically after the family has flown. One thing a writer knows at the beginning of her new project, is that it will be approximately a nine-month odyssey of labour and delivery, that in many ways reflect a familiar pattern. It's not a pink or blue nursery with pretty mobiles that I'm preparing, but an internal journey, shadowed with voices and unknown movement. I'll make, not visits to Marks&Sparks baby department, but epost an outline/synopsis to my editor and describe the life I hope to create. I've a name, not Sarah or Stephen, but a working title, and a form in my head that can't be detected by a scan, but by a place in my brain/heart called the subconscious. Each day a little weight adds to the embryo and the heartbeat suddenly kicks in, more than likely waking me up from a deep sleep. The little feet don't kick but the ideas tumble around, like a panic delivery from an online Tesco shop. In a sweat, I sit up and wonder what the heck I'm doing yet again at the beginning that white water ride of gestation. How do I connect with my baby before the weight piles on? How much knowledge of this mysterious creature is embedded in my mind? What do I have to do, to ensure a safe delivery? All my various strategies pale into fear and desperation in the middle of that dark night. I mop my brow and peer into the gloom. I've been through it all before; the relaxation, meditation, contemplation, and frustration. Shall I really do it all over again? And then the first light of dawn spills through the window. The ideas are subtly whispered through this inner child's voice. The whisper is so faint that it feels as though the minute I have it, the next, it's gone. But it will come again and I should have more faith. I know I am committed and that delivery date will happen, as it always has, within a predictable margin of time. I get up and make a cup of tea and gaze out at the trees and flowers, the first blush of spring that spills over the hedge. And I welcome this pregnancy and my invisible embryo, knowing that I'll be able to eat as many pickled gherkins as I fancy without being sick. I may not have a nursery, a set of three lemon babygrows and a wardrobe full of Pampers to organize, but I do have a blush-pink memory stick and sky-blue laptop, a Wi-Fi modem and an IPod. And sipping that first drop of Yorkshire Tea, I ask myself what senior-moment-writer could ask for more than this?


  1. Carole, I love this description of the writing process. It is absolutely perfect, and so true.