This song from ‘My Fair Lady’ keeps running through my head: ‘All I want is a room somewhere’. Like Eliza Doolittle, all I need is a cosy place with chocolates on tap and a comfy couch where I can think grand thoughts and render scribble into scintillating prose. But my granddaughters get in the way of my success. They visit me every school holidays and insist on my full attention.
Even though I no longer remember her name, my role model is a 19th Century housewife / novelist who single-handedly raised 9 children yet managed to write several novels. I let my subconscious do the walking while my girls and I bond and do giggly girlie things. We watch chic flicks, bake, catch up on family affairs and paint each other’s nails. Being the mother of sons who refused to cooperate when I wanted to paint their nails, I look forward to my darlings’ visit each quarter but I am equally happy now to hop back into the ninety-nine percent perspiration part of my writing routine.
That perfect bit of prose isn’t going to blossom on its own. It needs the personal touch. Now that I’m free I can take a notebook and a bunch of biros with me to the local café and write my socks off like Simone de Beauvoir and her partner and fellow existentialist John Paul Sartre, or I perhaps I could sit on the beach with a cask of wine for me and a loaf of bread for the seagulls.
There’s fourteen days’ worth of ideas to choose from now. Or I can get back to an elderly story about murder at a bodice ripper book convention, or the one about mistresses galore that has been gathering dust the bottom drawer for so long it has developed asthma.
‘Far away from the cold night air,’ the cold night air, the cold night air.
That song is running round and round in my head and won’t let go. I dig deeper into my box of chocolates in order to winkle out that inspiration.