My wife is returning this evening after being away for several days. I know I have been joking about running with scissors while she was gone (I didn’t) and willfully leaving interior doors open when I left the flat, despite the danger of the television exploding or the wardrobe spontaneously combusting and the resulting fire running rampant through our block of flats because I didn’t secure the doors; I did do this—after all, what do I care if the place burns to the ground 3 seconds sooner because I didn’t close the doors; I won’t be there—I did not, however, do it often, which reminds me of why I like having a wife around: when left on my own, I tend to vegetate.
I have been on my own for five days, and have left the flat only three times—once to go to the pub, once to buy pizza and just now, because I realized I have not been outside for two days and I was beginning to mould.
Add to this the fact that, since I took my wife to the train station at 9 o’clock on Monday morning, I have not turned on a radio or the telly and have been sitting in complete silence, reading or writing, for the past 102 hours, and you will understand that I am beginning to go just a little bit stir crazy and will be happy to welcome her home, even if the first thing she does is turn on Strictly Come Dancing.
I’m not really this antisocial, or boring – not always, anyway – but I took the opportunity to be boring and antisocial this week so I could tie up all the loose ends on my current book and give the next novel a good kick start. And the best way to force myself to do that is to give myself enough time to finish all the obsessive-compulsive tasks I can think up to avoid writing (such as sorting out my sock drawer, making sure all the books in the bookcases are lined up by author and that each book in each author group is in the correct chronological sequence, or counting the number of note pads I have and, just to be sure, counting them again); then, and only then, will I finally sit myself down and—having exhausted all other possibilities—begin to write.
It seems to have worked: over the past few days I have finished the paperback edition of Finding Rachel Davenport and am now just waiting for the official release date of the eVersion so I can make them both available at the same time. (That would be 30 October for those of you who are interested.) And the plot for my next novel, instead of being just the germ of an idea, is now a huge tangled mass of recalcitrant plot points and loose ends, which should be as easy to sort out as encouraging a basket full of ferrets* to line up in an orderly fashion.
And, as a bonus, the bookcases are now as neat and tidy as my sock drawer.
* The proper term for a collection of ferrets is a “business” of ferrets, a term which—if I saw it in someone else’s blog post—would lead me to assume they had made it up on the spot because they didn’t have the imagination to use “a basket full of ferrets.”