A turnaround week

I started this week feeling uninspired – one of my least favourite sensations – and have finished with so much in my head I don’t know what to put in this blog post. A high-class problem to have.

Normally, spring pleasantly surprises me. This year, I’ve been looking for signs of it since mid-January. And yesterday, we had the first proper day of sunshine I can remember since Christmas.

And there are daffodils growing out of the ground, not just in the supermarket. I took some photos to prove the daffodil thing to my school friends who live further North. As evidence, it’s alongside those blurry photos of the Loch Ness Monster…

The highlight of this week was probably meeting my writing buddy for a dog walk. In England, we’re allowed to exercise with one other person. But it was the first time Rachel and I were able to take advantage. I’m grateful for Zoom and don’t know what the world would have done without it, but I’d forgotten how good it is to see people in real life.

Or it could have been my chat with the new special needs coordinator at school. I had psyched myself up to explain my son’s problems to somebody else from scratch. But it turns out, she was an internal promotion. She knew my teenager, saw the issues, and could tell me more than I could tell her. I went into the phone call feeling helpless and came away thoroughly reassured. Not a common feeling with special needs. It happens, but you remember when it does.

Book 1, as it’s imaginatively known, is cooking. I’ve probably lost rather than added to the word count, but I’ve sorted more of the characters and the world out in my head. As I said, I started the week lacking inspiration. A bit of prayer and it came. (I don’t think Margaret Atwood was serious when she suggested it in her 10 writing rules, but it works for me.)

For years, I have had one flat for a main character in my head. I didn’t question it. Tenement blocks in the West End of Glasgow tend to have pretty similar layouts. But looking online for the proportions, I found somewhere far more interesting — the perfect hobbit hole for him and his cat.

But it had far too many rooms for the two of them, so he had to have at least one lodger. And this led to me changing a fellow Scottish male academic into a laidback pregnant Texan lecturer. Then the hero’s sweet but — lets be honest — very boring girlfriend needed sorting out. Hopefully, when I’ve got the details right, the words will flow.

How has your week gone? How are you coping with the pandemic?

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