I do truly believe that. But I have to say, I've never had this much trouble writing a story before. This is the twelfth time I've done it and something is different.
I'm at a different desk, in a different room, in a different house, in a different country. Could be that. I've now got two editors, at two publishers, in two different time zones and mine makes a third. Could be that.
But . . . all that was true when I wrote Dandy Gilver No7. last winter.
I've plunged into online life, blogging, tweeting, and posting on Facebook. Could easily be that. This story occurred to me here not there, although the people in it belong there not here. Sounds vaguely plausible. But . . . there have always been distractions - estate agents' websites with virtual tours, Pet Rescue, Youtube - and I wrote DG2 in Ohio.
So who knows? Maybe this story is a turkey. Maybe I should scrap it. Maybe I've exhausted whatever it is I've been drawing on and I need to get a job now. I'm still writing; don't get me wrong. But usually by this stage of the game it feels as if some thermals have lifted the weight of the story off my shoulders and I'm just along for the ride. This time it's like shovelling setting concrete just a bit too slowly so that it gets harder and harder as you go.
To turn to happier areas of life, then. This month I've been reading Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx (house-doing-up comfort/schadenfreude), The Odds by Kathleen George (best family of kids since Noel Streatfield, with the social grit of The Wire) and Defending Jacob by William Landay (wow), and am now reading The Tommyknockers by Mr W. Block himself, Stephen King. Book of the Month for July is going to be a tough choice.
And in the garden, all is well and all is well and all manner of things are well. My only disasters so far this year are the chick peas. Out of a row of fifteen, two plants are alive and they're looking pretty dodgy.
And at least I can't ever get gardener's block. In fact, my devotion to the garden is boundless: I just drank a full half-pint of dark purple spinach water. Here's what happened. The beetroots needed to be thinned and couldn't wait. Dinner tonight is being brought to us courtesy of the courgette glut and no way to incorporate a wheelbarrowful of leaf beet thinnings. So I cooked them all up and froze them all down. And just before freezing comes squeezing. And so there was half a pint of spinach juice and I thought of stock and soup and even of pouring it away, but spirit of Granny Greta McPherson moved across the kitchen and . . . now I have the strength of Popeye and won't need any more iron for days.