Tuesday 5th

Since I’m now really got the bit between my teeth with the writing, and am typing out a blog post each morning as a warm-up exercise, I’ll just make the headings here as above: day and date.

I woke this morning at about 5.00, which is an occurrence all too common as I slip through the last months towards the age of 50. After a cup of tea, I realised I was not going to get back to sleep and decided at about 5.45 it was time to get up. This is all good for some of those fans reading this, because it means I’ll have done a few hundred words before your alarm clock goes off. There’ll be others of course who are up and about too, on their way to work, or working, or contemplating the journey home after a night shift.

Caroline said she was damned if she was getting up before the sun, since it brought back too many memories of the time when she had to do that. I too remember those winter days when driving to work at 7.30 on a soggy, cold and dark morning to operate a milling machine for eight, nine or ten hours, then driving home in the dark afterwards, stinking of coolant oil. I remember months passing when the only daylight I saw was a grey and insipid thing for a half hour lunch break (I worked a half hour of overtime during my break so didn’t have an hour free) or through a narrow greasy window on the side of the factory.

It’s because of memories like this that you get a book every year. It’s because of twenty-five years of doing ‘proper jobs’ that I thoroughly appreciate the position I am in now. And it is also the reason I get annoyed when I hear about writers delivering their typescripts late, maybe years late, or if I hear the effete whingeing about ‘writers block’ or, in one case, a lengthy moan posing the question: ‘Why do we do this? Why do we put ourselves through so much suffering for our art?’. I started writing because I loved it, I continued writing without recompense for twenty years because I loved it, and I write now because I love it and because I’m well aware of what the alternatives are.

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