You could be forgiven for thinking that Autumn's arrived. It's not just the chill and breezy grey that's settled on South East London today. A friend has just posted an SOS about her plum jam which refuses to set, and I've just washed the crumpet butter off my fingers in order to write this. My daughter's announced that she'll need new school shoes when term starts, and my son's booking places at University Open Days in October, now he has his AS level results.
I've always felt that September rivals April as the real New Year. Perhaps we should be like the Russians, each of whom has a name day as well as a birthday to celebrate. This year, that everything's-about-to-start feeling is made doubly restless, because it's true of A Secret Alchemy too. After the years of silent writing and the slog of editing, and then the sleep (for author, not publisher) of production, little bits and pieces are beginning to herald publication as the lengthening sun and shortening days herald the change of season. Monday's batch of small excitements are the first brown leaves and yesterday from Headline came covers for the hardback and the export paperback. Leaf by leaf, there'll be more, perhaps even a whirl of them if the wind gets up, and even though they don't look many judged by the hour and the day, some day I'll look at the ground and realise that there are heaps of them everywhere
So I was being cross with myself for not getting down to posting here, and grumbling by email to a writer friend, instead of assembling my tax return, or getting back into the PhD, or clearing our the garden shed, or all the other things that have been on hold for the thick of the summer holidays. The only thing I really want to do is read and read and read for the nameless new novel, and it's the thing which is bottom of the list, at least if you grade the list by urgency. And my wise friend said:
That's the trouble: what needs doing is everyday. Quotidian, sometimes fun, sometimes dull, occasionally difficult, but pedestrian. Meanwhile, when the wind's in the right direction, I keep thinking I can hear the fair. It's a mirage, I know, having heard it all before. The scraps of music aren't coming from something much bigger and more thrilling that I can run off to find; they're all the music there is. It's nothing, yet the pedestrian rhythm seems impossible to find or keep to. My feet can't quite keep from wanting to dance.
I know you'll get it all done but I also know what you mean about the restless feeling that runs underneath it all. It's truly exciting about the Waterstone's buyer's remarks in The Bookseller... and yet it must be so disquieting to have to deal with the everyday after such news.