At the weekend, the Inventor (who lives on the Farm with my Mother-in-law-sister) started a conversation about my writing. “The poetry’s going well”, he said “By which I mean, you’re writing”. He asked if I wanted to write a novel, it’s something I’ve mentioned before. “Yes” I say, not entirely sure this is a conversation I want to have. “Then you will”. He asks me how long it takes me to write a page, when I tell him I don’t have the time to write my book. He asks how I spend the rest of my time, he asks what I do when I’m smoking, whether I watch TV, whether there are times in my life I could be using better. He understands, he says, that teachers are so often dead on their feet at the end of the day; but is there some way I could be making sure this book gets written? I admit that there are times I could be using better.
Three pages a week, he says. Write three pages a week, for six months, and you’ll have a novel. This is such an engineer’s way of thinking it makes me laugh. But, yes, writing is a job like any other. You do it, and you do it, and you keep on doing it, until it is done.
I promise him three pages a week, not yet knowing if I even have a story that will take more than three pages. But he has given me the rules, given me the framework, that the little girl in me needs if I’m ever going to get this done. He has given me – in that short instruction – all the support and “I believe you can’ that this neurotic child is looking for. And he knows, I suspect, that this is all I really need.
This is what I do, he says. Once, my Mother-in-law-sister told him she wanted to play in a band. Classically trained on the piano, she wasn’t sure she could play the Blues, jazz, all that modern stuff. So he made her practice, he helped her ignore that little voice in her head- that maybe said she couldn’t, and he found her a band.
This is what he does.
Check out my Mother-in-law-sister and the Inventor’s band here – they’re well worth a visit if you’re in the area: http://www.lemonrock.com/screamingweasels?page=gigs