Daily service and the thrum of uncertainty

IF YOU write, you should read as well. This rule applies to authors of fiction – and to those who blog. The other day I came across a blog about writing a daily blog. The writer asked if writing so often was a good idea, and in answering her own question decided that it was.

Would-be authors are often advised to write every day. It’s not always easy to fit this round a life. But daily blogging isn’t that difficult once you begin. It’s there, it’s a job ‘needing’ to be done. So you go ahead and do it, much as you might make breakfast for similar reasons.

As regular visitors to my ledge will have noticed, these thoughts and jottings appear nearly every day, with an occasional day off at the weekend.

The advantage of doing something nearly every day is that you have to do it. There is no magic formula to reveal, nothing beyond the fact that having to do something makes you do it.

These laptop lectures address assorted matters personal or political, or sometimes just whatever pops to the surface of my mind.

Quite a few have concerned my summer role as an Airbnb host. As I write now, our young Frenchman is still asleep after driving yesterday from Aviemore. Today he has to drive to Portsmouth for the overnight ferry to Le Havre, and then on to his parents’ house in Brittany. For a tired man, he proved good company, as most of them do, although one or two have been eccentric, and some prefer to keep to their room.

Writing most days is good exercise for anyone who wishes to write. It has also been a sort of therapy in the months post-redundancy. To date various jobs have been applied for without luck. To compensate for this, there has been a little stream of freelance work – a start but not yet a life.

Perhaps it is today’s date, or perhaps it is that end-of-holiday feeling conjured from ancient schooldays. Whatever the reason, the first day of September casts me in gloom. The thrum of uncertainty seems louder today. This distant noise has been the soundtrack of the summer. Some days, most days, it is possible to push it away. Something good will happen; something good has to happen – that is what you tell yourself. As an optimist that is mostly what I believe, although one person’s optimist might be another’s deluded fool.

Anyway I can hear the first stirrings of a sleepy French student. He isn’t much bothered about breakfast, he says, apart from coffee to keep him awake.

I’ll use the stove-top espresso pot, the one stamped Zanzibar, which we bought, fittingly enough, in Paris more than 30 years ago. Sold to us by a man on an impromptu stall outside a department store, this unremarkable-seeming pot has done valiant service down the years. It still makes the best coffee around, and beats all those expensive coffeemakers.

Well, I say that but I’ve never yet had one of those, although I have at times suffered from pointless gadget envy. As to whether it is the envy or the gadget that is pointless, well that cuts either way.


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