Sunday, April 05, 2009

Rumination

It's not bad at the moment. A couple of people have pointed out that I'm more upbeat lately and I have to admit it's true. I feel OK about myself.

I'm catching up with much-neglected chores about the house and garden and the garden in particular is providing much positive feedback. If the blossom is anything to go by I should have plenty of fruit this autumn (a few more bumblebees wouldn't go amiss, but I'm trying my best to cater for them). The air is thick with the tree heather's peculiarly-nice combination of aniseed and honey; I have an Erica capensis which would be about six foot high if I didn't keep trimming the straggly bits off. Actually, it would be six foot high anyway if it hadn't fallen over in its second year, which makes for a nice thick bush of it. This time of year it's one white mass of flowers. Gold-laced polyanthus, which I'd written off as dead and gone last year have reappeared in between the wallflowers and valerians and a small knot of leaves in the front border look suspiciously like the day lily that never happened last year.

Ah, but this is superficial stuff. Why so upbeat? I'm not in love - thank God! - so we can't blame Spring fever. Work is as awful as ever, if not slightly worse than usual (the good news there is that I appear to have mentally detached myself from the sinking ship).

The truth of the matter is that I've had a small epiphany. For years I've been beating myself up for not shaping up and putting together That First Novel. I have character sketches, written chapters, outlines and inlines but no First Novel. And nor will there ever be. I'm actually not a novelist. Some of you are, or are working hard to become one, and good on you, seriously. I'm not. I can write sequential short stories, but that's an entirely other thing and you aren't allowed to bodge them together into huge, rambling inconsequentialities until you've won a few prizes for entirely unreadable but critically-acclaimed Literature. I can write features and stories for tiny tots and training manuals and copy for press releases and people even pay me to do it.

I'm a jobbing essayist, not a novelist. I'm OK with that.

8 comments:

Scarlett Parrish said...

And you deserve no less fame and fortune for that, good sir.

By the way, there is blossom on the tree outside my bedroom window. I fear this means spring is on the way to my town, too.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Well, never say never, but it's always best to be relaxed about stuff like this... and it's good to be able to recognise your good points.
Sx

A sweet smelling bush...?

Kevin Musgrove said...

Ta both.

Gadjo Dilo said...

You really are a writer, Kevin? I also once started a novel, which was the most appalling pile of diarrhea you can imagine. And I have character sketches for another, but fortunately for both me and the dogbodies at Faber & Faber I have no time to realise it. Good luck with the other stuff.

librarylizzie said...

I am not a writer of any kind, other than software related stuff and training manuals....no imagination, y'see....but I feel the need to join in the discussion, so i ask.....can you actually have a pile of diarrhea?

sorry.....

Kevin Musgrove said...

Gadjo: infrequently so, though it's also a part of the day job

Lizzie: unfortunately yes: we're just across the road from the bus station so we sometimes get to see the evidence

willow said...

Now you're scaring me. I'm starting to collect my notes for an autobiographical novel. I've got a lot of steamy material, though, so I'm going to give it a good shot.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Don't let me put you off, Willow! Good luck with it.