You see, I have a sensitive little muse (I do intend to talk about my muse as a separate entity. That little spark that writes my tales often seems to lead an entirely separate life from me, and is not entirely under my control.) She only likes to come out in the sunshine – and not even the sunshine of a cold, yet bright day. It’s got to be the warm sunshine of summer.
I can’t write on a cold damp day. I can’t even write in a warm room, if it’s still winter outside. I have to feel the warmth on my skin, the heat burying deep into my bones, strolling slowly down the street in something floaty and flighty, not scurrying down the street, every inch of me swaddled in wool, thinking only of the next heater. (this is why my Christmas story never really got done. I was too cold to write).
Last spring, it got hot early. At the beginning of April, I was joyfully running around in strappy, skimpy dresses, drinking in the sun. And I wrote. An idea and a character popped into my head. And not just a short story – a fully realised book. I wrote and wrote. Everywhere I went, I scribbled. I wrote on the cliffs above Hastings, the fields around Battle, a tiny cafe in Arundel.
My book was almost finished, and I liked it. Then that Umbrella song got to number one in the UK chart – and that day it rained. And it continued raining. Every day that song was at number one, we had three different kinds of weather in Britain – heavy rain, not quite so heavy rain, and torrential downpour. And my writing stopped, my book unfinished.
That song was at number one for nine weeks, and the rain never stopped. I got soaked in Stratford Upon Avon, shivered in Guernsey and was chilled in Lincoln. And my muse ran to her little hole and hid.
I tried dragging her out and forcing her to write. It was a sad and pathetic failure. Every word was a struggle. And every word was dross. What I wrote was so bad, I ceremoniously burnt it (in the kitchen sink, to be safe).
I could have gone somewhere sunny – but I don’t get paid very much, so no trips abroad for me. I had to face facts – no sun, no writing. And by the time the rain stopped, it was autumn.
Two weeks ago, there was a hot sunny day. Spring was coming. And I wrote, and I liked what I wrote for the first time in months. And then it got cold again – but at least I learnt that my muse hadn’t disappeared, she was just hibernating. So I hope, for the sake of my sensitive little muse (and my unfinished book), that this summer will be long, and hot and sunny.