This was one of those Mondays… Yesterday was Anzac Day and we always go to the Dawn Service. I’m part of the local RSL (Returned Servicemen’s League) and it’s a big thing here on the island. Like many small, remote places, the islands have given disproportionately to the various conflicts. And lost too, disproportionately. They let me in because they don’t care where you served –I was a conscript back in SA, my parents (and Barbs parents) both had been in the Army or the Navy during the World Wars ( Barbs dad lied about his age and served in WW1).
Now the dawn service here is a haunting thing with the minute’s silence full of the sound of the sea and paling sky and the flag at half-mast. I hate to miss it. It does mean getting up early – and, typically when I have to get up early… I wake up way earlier. So I spent from around three thinking back on being a 17 year old conscript. About my comrades and the things we experienced. I was no great hero, and I couldn’t wait to be out. But in some ways you never really get out. It shapes you, shapes your books. Not always for the worse, (the army for all its issues, made a better man of me – which doesn’t say much about the starting material!) but not always easily. There are places, people and things I never want to go back to, but the writing takes me there, despite it.
I never got back to sleep, and I should just have got up and written.
So Sunday was not one of my great writing days, but I did move the book forward, but less than I should have.
Monday. Monday I’m really going to knock it out of the park…
For some reason the mobile phone started beeping away and vibrating at 4. 00AM. I should have ignored it, but when you have kids on the far side of the world, and you’re also available for Ambulance first response… you don’t.
I think it was aliens calling, because it wasn’t the kids or anything visible. But I was thoroughly awake, and lay there keeping warm, planning how to deal with the penultimate scene in this book. And then… I got a call offering me wild pig a friend had shot. So: I should just have got up and written. I spend the morning skinning and butchering. If you think too much about other things while using sharp knives, you’re going to end up typing shorthand… Anyway, by the time I had packed the meat, cleaned up, buried the debris… much of my morning had gone.
So I got stuck in… um no. Just a few things to deal with first. It was about three in the afternoon before I got to those words… which were flowing thick and fast. They really were. Of course they weren’t behaving themselves, but that is also normal. And then at six it occurs to me… I have a piece for MGC to write tonight (your early morning. I live in future. Just in case you wanted to know, it mostly sucks and I can’t tell you what the lotto numbers will be, or which horse will win the Kentucky Derby. Time is like that.)
And I had no idea what to write about. My head was so full of my hero and heroine’s problems that I hadn’t given it a single thought.
So here is my thought. Seize the day. If I’d written in those wakeful periods, I… would have been even less likely to have given it a thought. But I’d be further with the book.