Seeking out the hopeful blues

There’s hope surging up this week, as I make further inroads into the cakes book. I’ve decided to start this blog, not by choosing a particular theme, but by offering it as a writing diary to whoever might be interested. At this point in time, I’m a first time ‘almost’ novelist, member of the RNA New Writers’ Scheme, who is planning to self publish her debut book this year. I’m currently at the stage of finishing my third draft, convinced that the ‘actual book’ is just around the corner.

Am at that stage where I’m faffing a lot. Due to health issues (autoimmune) I’ve been pretty much shielding for a year and a lot of the time feel tired and pickled. My book brain has been on the back burner for many months, and I’ve been coping by going slow and congratulating myself for the smallest task. Now, probably fuelled by the abundant massing of Lilacs and Peonies on my daily walk, I am keen to do just a little bit more and get the book properly finished. Its agony sometimes! I don’t want to open the computer at all, and think how I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow has become an extremely elastic term as it seems to be stretching into infinity. 

So this is how I write. Some days good, some days so bad I feel that I am a total fraud and all I’m good for is eating Lindt chocolate balls for hours on end. I really am very good at that. 

I am also fond of ‘easing in’ activities. Where I skirt round the act of actually writing and do something ‘writing related’ instead. Often this does work, and leads me into my 1000 words (which is the number I seem to be able to write on a fairly daily basis – but not at weekends). My talented artist friend, Jo Dixon, has asked me to send her some cover art that I’m particularly drawn to, so I see myself having a bit of a trawl of the internet to see what speaks to me, then writing later. She is a wonderful painter, who trained in textile design and I’m very keen to see what she comes up with. I have a painting of hers on my wall as I write this. I bought it many years ago when I was in my twenties and along with Lynn Baker of Tiger Travel, ran a business that encouraged women to travel adventurously (in whatever form that took). In those far off days thirty years ago, this really wasn’t that common. We ended up running regular travel days and fairs at the Commonwealth Institute in London and I met Jo because she painted glorious art based on her travels (mainly in India) and I was keen to get her to give a talk. When I contacted her, she was away (of course), but when she returned she got in touch and agreed to be part of the travel workshop. It was a friendship that has lasted decades and I think of her every day that I look at this painting. It was inspired by a trip she took to Morocco and is full of silver and shading and collage and the most stunning blues. It makes me think of skies and seas and all good things that are blue blue blue: favourite jeans, delphiniums, a special mug, robins’ eggs, my beloved Cos dress (high necked with a full skirt and pockets). Leaving behind the melancholy sort of blues, blue is a hopeful colour for me. I think it might even be my favourite colour. When I look in my wardrobe, it’s a veritable palette of blues, apparently I choose it often. Maybe the book cover will have a hint of blue in it? But not for the cake, because that just wouldn’t be right.

But no book cover without a book, so onwards I go. We will catch up soon!

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