‘If you don’t sit at your desk every day, come the day your writing could go well, you might not be sitting there.’
So said Flannery O’Connor, who would have been 96 this past week, only lupus carried her off aged 39. I don’t agree with all her views – she had a low opinion of Carson McCullers’ writing, and she was fond of a dessert whose very name, peppermint chiffon pie, makes me gag – but when it comes to regular writing habits (or painting habits or any other creative endeavour) she was right on the money. She also said, when asked if she thought universities stifled would-be writers, ‘unfortunately not nearly enough.’ Perhaps it’s just as well she didn’t live to see what universities are stifling these days.
I push on, as per Flannery, turning up at the desk most days, a couple of hours here, a couple of hours there. One of my current not-writing activities is making something to put in my craft bee’s Plague Year Time Capsule. I’ll reveal more about that in a future post, but I mention it now in order to report the strangely sobering effect of time capsules. If you’ve ever contributed to one, you’ll understand what I mean. I’m making something that will next be seen by people not yet born. What will they be like? What will they think of a bunch of old ladies who, long ago, knitted and sewed and painted and wrote, all in the name of sanity, comfort and fellowship?
This week’s failed project: dyeing eggs for Easter. Not a white egg to be had anywhere around here and if you sacrifice half a red cabbage to dye brown eggs you end up with a very strange colour indeed. Ah well, they can’t all be winners.