Quillpen, inky fingers
One writer ponders ...
on words-smithing or being happily distracted from the task in hand
and on the wayward nature of her Muse
and on the wayward nature of her Muse
I am sad to have to report that this blog is a prime case of A.D.A or Author Displacement Activity. It’s not procrastination or distraction and there’s no excuse for ADA today. I am happy to report that Ms Muse has been around for the last few days, for which I am grateful but it is true to say that I haven’t been as attentive as I should.
Instead I have been emptying an outhouse space in preparation for a downstairs WC to be installed. It was an essential task if I am going to persuade Mr H that it needs doing sooner rather than eventually, so not really an ADA.
Then, with autumn definitely upon us, I needed to swap the contents of my wardrobe over, tuck the lovely linens away and drag out an assortment of woollens. Some of the knitwear could do with a cull but it kept me snug last winter when I was deep into writing A Cord of Three Strands. If the yarns are right for telling yarns they have to stay. I don’t know if the bohemian-looking grey cashmere wrap is really Ms Muse’s style but I daren’t offend her by sending it to a charity shop.
So, that wasn’t really an ADA either. It would only qualify for ADA status if I had elected to iron everything before hanging it up and I didn’t.
The house is tidy; my writing hut is swept for spiders’ webs; why the ADA? Where’s the problem?
Well, silly as it seems, it is my narrator. His name is Daniel Edwards and he’s got journeys to make. The stalemate is because it transpires that he doesn’t like horses.
Now, readers may think it somewhat mad to be listening to a fictional character, one that I am entirely responsible for making up. But I am sure I’m not the only author who ‘hears’ the populace of their stories. It has happened before and nobody was more perturbed by it than me. Nevertheless, I can’t make them do something out of character any more than I can predict when Ms Muse will turn up. I just have to be prepared - and so I am respectful of Dan’s lack of enthusiasm.
It wouldn’t matter except that in 1649, when To Untie a Sealed Knot begins, he’s not got a lot of choice. Mare or stallion; gelding or mule - that’s what’s offer on the equivalent of the 17th century garage forecourt. He doesn’t trust either end of any of them, wouldn’t know how to ‘work’ one and thinks they’re expensive, uncomfortable and unpredictable. He may have a point; the last time I rode I was just into my teens. A feisty little pony who liked to toss her head pitched me between her ears three times in the space of an hour’s trekking on Exmoor. With my dignity severely bruised I have never been back in the saddle.
A carriage isn’t feasible for Dan; the roads are too bad for a start and if one horse is costly to keep, a carriage would be like running a gas-guzzling F1 motor car on the school run - pointless. So, I have arranged for a farrier to pick him a suitable mount. There seems to be a grudging acceptance of that idea.
On the other hand while I was doing some research into the early years of the East India Company, the mention of sea and sail made my reluctant traveller perk up no end. From Pendennis Castle to Bristol would definitely be better by boat. He understands ships; he’s a Bideford lad after all. It seems he’d rather face the passage round Land’s End than ride to Padstow to embark too. Fair enough! So, we’re agreed then. As often as is practicable, Dan can get from A to B by sea.
So, why the A.D.A? Why aren’t I tapping furiously, getting a few hundred words down before the next cup of coffee and marmite on toast?
Well, it's meteorological. We’re just waiting for a slant, the weather window that provides the best sailing conditions. The current south-easterly wind needs to moderate a bit. Round Land’s End will be a bit lumpy otherwise; a brisk SW to send the ship up the Bristol Channel would be much better. Meanwhile I'm blogging. So you can see, it's not procrastinating, not getting distracted..
I wonder if Ms Muse’s middle name is Ada? It wouldn’t surprise me.