“The key to being centred seems to be for me to do each thing with absolute concentration, to garden as though that were essential, then to write in the same way, to meet my friends, perfectly open to what they bring.”

- May Sarton

There’s a small towel laid out on the floor at the top of the stairs, just outside the door to the Garret. On it sits the cat, gazing at me with expectant green eyes. It’s taken the two of us a while to sort out that when I am writing, this is a much better sitting-place than is my lap. At least now the cat is sitting still, and not seething around my desk/lap/printer/lap/desk/lap, blocking my view and generally driving me up the wall while I try to write. The muse has some difficulty getting around a seething feline, so it’s a relief and a revelation to find a place for him to sit peacefully.

Since the arrival of my good news, there’s been much revising and polishing going on around here. I’ve spent some time preparing my novella manuscript for copyediting by the good people at Quattro Books (scroll down for the mug-shot), and now that it’s been sent in, I’m busy having a proper look at the first 130 pages of the novel I’ve been pecking away at since my sabbatical began. I finally screwed up the courage to show some of it to my writers’ group, and what a relief! Now I wonder why I’d been so shy about showing it to them, but at the time I worried that it wasn’t finished; that at this early stage, I might be too easily discouraged by a remark misunderstood (by me); or that it was just too new and much, much more fragile than the polished, twenty-page short stories I’ve been showing them until now.

I should have known better. My writers’ group consists of sensitive and creative writers who are experienced in giving and taking constructive criticism. They are as excited about my novel as I am, and their enthusiasm propels me forward as I consider what’s next and reflect upon what I’ve already written. Now I can begin backing-and-forthing, strengthening certain things and editing others out, all the while aiming for the horizon with a surer sense of direction. And that’s exciting.

As long as the cat stays put on his towel and leaves me in peace… as if.

Categories: General.