21 June 2010
The summer’s longest day: it’s as inappropriate as possible for me to be thinking about winter. I ought to be outdoors, picnicking and barbequeing, staying out without an extra layer, taking advantage of however brief an interval it’s going to be before the weather reminds you where Southampton really is: a rain funnel and wind trap in the middle of the English Channel.
I wonder whether I’m a winter writer. I can’t concentrate at all on new ideas in summer, can’t even think myself back into the old ones I had to store up back in spring. In summer, I want to be experiencing. Maybe it’s the legacy of too many school holidays when I managed to experience nothing at all, except teaching myself how to write macros for an Excel spreadsheet or retype a teenage diary on that second-hand old Mac.
Go out and make something happen, I start thinking when the sun comes out. And make it something a bit more constructive than the provocative things you used to do in term time because you’d read ahead through the whole syllabus and you were bored.
I mediate and season things in autumn. (Kirsty Logan, a few days ago, posted about personal clichés. The longest thing I wrote while I was still at school had red/gold light and trees and sodding chestnuts up the wazoo. I never want to see any of those things again.) They’ve dissolved into a meniscus of ideas by wintertime, when the air is cold and darkness starts at half past four and experiencing things means zipping up a winter coat so high I can’t see out.
Somehow I managed to hit an anthology deadline that comes up in July. Still, that may be it for proper writing for a month or two, until the evenings start reversing and a shadow in the kitchen makes me say: ‘Bloody hell, since when has it been dark at suppertime?’