I have never believed that one needs soft lighting and Cycle Brand agarbattis in the background to write. Noise particularly doesn't bother me, neither does silence. I truly don't believe in Writer's Block (shortly after making this reckless statement she was seen dead, crushed by a gigantic butcher's block that fell from the sky) And I am in no position to quit my day job, as the saying goes. I have never wanted to quit the day job (whatever it is at the point). The day job was where all the action was; mysterious bosses, phenomenal-to-freaky colleagues, vague, wandering children who refused to believe that you actually were employed and oh, those juicy cheques that my mother laughs at but keep me in hats

Since the move to Dilli, I have been so little inclined to work, particularly at writing. I don't mind the editing jobs and horrifyingly have even begun to enjoy them, though I am *embarrassed cough* not even vaguely good at it. What I can't abide now is writing for a living. Let me clarify, I mean, all this while, I have got by writing brochures, websites, random reports and sometimes it seemed that I was employed to send tactful emails. And I got a kick out of it all not particularly wanting to preserve my throat to sing any arias. However in the last two years, my previously Protestant work ethic has slipped, alarming kindly employers who wondered how they could have hired such a lazy git. In the first year, I was alarmed too. I was convinced it was because I was working out of home. I still think that factor had a great deal to do with it, as anyone working on their own in a space meant to relax in, will attest to. I recently begged one client to let me work out of his office three days a week so that I could actually deliver his work.

More recently, I have this new disinclination to churn out the content that I have always had on tap. It was frightening me a great deal. What did all this mean, to be so lazy, and happy to live off whoever will subsidise you at the moment?

Well I am happy to report (and with no pretensions to being Virginia Woolf or having fragile nerves) that I am beginning to feel that I was being an irresponsible brat all this while because I needed to write my own stuff. Never mind that poetry has disappeared for the first time since I was 16 and that my golden god, fiction is now pretending to be extremely chummy. Never mind without Bent and the happy band, for the first time in six years, I don't have a lodestone.

Never mind all that. In fact, I think it is because of that, I am thrown back to what many of us were as kids. Socially off-key but not lonely because, excuse me, have you seen the forty stories that I made up in my head in the last five minutes?For once all those elusive, will o' the wisp elements of good writing feels like it could be in my grasp if I shimmy sideways and shoot out my arm and grab it. And suddenly, I am not sleepy, tired, bored, sad or inclined to browse the internet. And I am setting myself insane deadlines with complete sureness of meeting them.

If there was ever a time to quit doing everything else and work on my June 22 deadline, its now. However, we must have broadband and water. Being smelly and thirsty and offline is not an option so back to the content churning and smiling at uneasy employers who know they have lost you to something. "Is she on drugs? Is she in a bad relationship? Was she lying through her teeth when she said she wanted to do this work?"

All of the embattled but not yet embittered who pay me so I can eat, whom I have been letting down, I would like to refer you to Dorothy L. Sayers in Gaudy Night.

“You can usually tell," said Miss DeVine, "by seeing what kind of mistakes you make. I’m quite sure that one never makes fundamental mistakes about the thing one really wants to do. Fundamental mistakes arise out of lack of genuine interest. In my opinion, that is.”

“I made a very big mistake once,” said Harriet, “as I expect you know. I don’t think that arose out of lack of interest. It seemed at the time the most important thing in the world.”

“And yet you made the mistake. Were you really giving your mind to it, do you think? Your mind? Were you really as cautious and exacting about it as you would be about writing a passage of fine prose?”

“That’s rather a difficult sort of comparison. One can’t, surely, deal with emotional excitements in that detached spirit.”

“Isn’t the writing of good prose an emotional excitement?”

“Yes, of course it is. At least, when you get the thing dead right and know it’s dead right, there’s no excitement like it. It’s marvellous. It makes you feel like God on the Seventh Day--for a bit, anyhow.”

“Well, that’s what I mean. You expend the trouble and you don’t make any mistake--and then you experience the ecstasy. But if there’s any subject in which you’re content with the second-rate, then it isn’t really your subject.”

“You’re dead right,” said Harriet, after a pause. “If one’s genuinely interested one knows how to be patient, and let time pass, as Queen Elizabeth said. Perhaps that’s the meaning of the phrase about genius being eternal patience, which I always thought rather absurd. If you truly want a thing, you don’t snatch; if you snatch, you don’t really want it. Do you suppose that, if you find yourself taking pains about a thing, it’s a proof of its importance to you?”

“I think it is, to a large extent. But the big proof is that the thing comes right, without those fundamental errors. One always makes surface errors, of course. But a fundamental error is a sure sign of not caring. I wish one could teach people nowadays that the doctrine of snatching what one thinks one wants is unsound.”

“I saw six plays in London this winter,” said Harriet, “all preaching the doctrine of snatch. I agree that they left me with the feeling that none of the characters knew what they wanted.”

“No,” said Miss DeVine. “If you are once sure what you do want, you find that everything else goes down before it like grass under a roller–-all other interests, your own and other people’s.”


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