April 26th (a few days late posting)
‘April is the cruelest month,’ so said T.S. Eliot, that first line has been stuck in my head for days.
‘April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.’
And all this week I thought it was Sara Teasdale. A poet I love but who mum says is so depressing I had to come and take the book out of the house. The only book I ever felt that way about was 50 Shades. Seems I have a penchant for depressed writers because I adore May Sarton, and everyone else I know who has read her keeps telling me that but I find her a joy.
Back to April and in terms of mood I’ve been a bit April myself and wondering if like May (Sarton) ‘adversity is my climate.’ The submission process for my book is the thing, I underestimated its crazy making properties.
My tally so far is 12 submissions over three weeks, one rejection within a day and one positive response within a few hours. I was fine with the rejection, I was ready for that. It was the positive response that threw me. It was that had me gusting about the place, constantly checking my email, so unsettled. So much like April.
Today I got over it. First I decided to, then I googled ‘how to stay sane while submitting your novel.’ 13,900,000 results in 88 seconds.
Where would we be without google? Seriously, no matter what the problem is it’s out there, that can be a comfort in itself. And sometimes, so is the answer. And sometimes you already knew the answer, you just had to read it to make it more true. Read it, writing it often helps too. But I haven’t been writing remember, I’ve been gusting.
I drafted a plan, this from my fb page…
‘Most of the agents say to allow up to 8 weeks or longer for a response. Btw no response is also a response. One thing I can tell you is no way am I letting this consume my summer, or my year. So this is what I’m going to do…
I’m going to stop submitting the book for the moment. Count this as Round 1. I’ve already learned a lot from the process of submitting and no doubt in a month or two I’ll look at my submission with fresh eyes plus new information and want to change/improve it.
I’m going to crack on with edits for my creativity book and other writing. And I’m going to attack, I mean, de-clutter the house.
In another month or two I’ll start submitting again, if I need to.
And after all of that, if I don’t secure an agent I’m going to take charge of my own publishing fate. Get the book professionally edited, publish and sell it myself.’
And just like that I went to the laptop and opened the creativity book for the first time this year.. You can read about it HERE I’d put it away, in every sense of the word, I have a talent for that I think. I had good reason, to drive the novel to the finish line and now that’s done it’s time. But the longer you stay away from something the harder it is to go back.
I’m not sure what I expected, virtual cobwebs at least. Resistance? A stranger? Or worse, crap writing. But within minutes I could feel, passion rising. I was writing, and re-writing, and I was enjoying myself. I forgot email, and I forgot about the novel. Success.
Going down to make dinner I thought of how different it is to work on this book that is my thoughts and ideas, my passion for creativity. The novel, a very different creature, is always difficult, has a mind of its own.
In the kitchen sunlight flowed in, bathing the whole place in gold. And I made the most beautiful dinner, trout fillets, seasoned and fried in butter and a little oil. Keeping them warm I added more butter to the pan with slivers of almonds, handfuls of spinach to wilt and anointed with lemon. Heaven, literally heaven.
It’s been so cold this month I’ve taken to wearing a big old dressing gown over my clothes, but then I overheat easy and have to keep throwing it off. I have serious complaints against dressing gowns. First, they are made for midgets. I’m not even that tall, I mean I used to be 5’8′ I’m not sure what I’m now but it’s smaller. Second they are either too light or too warm. I want long, light AND warm. Is that too much to ask? And another thing. The biggest offence of them all. Why oh why, is the belt always so high? Never on the waist, always up under your boobs.
I get up, I get dressed, I put on my make-up. I tie my hair up in a knot. And then I throw the big dressing on top. It’s glamour deconstructed for the chilly, not so chilled, lady writer. And If I’m writing I throw a blanket over my legs and wrap it around my feet. Folks I couldn’t get up if I wanted, I am literally froze to the seat.
But this cold spell, surely it has to change soon? I walk around the garden most nights, thrilled to the changes, some returning flower or other. It is still April but May is coming, the garden knows and says yes. Every year I wait for the lilac to bloom, we have two, one dark purple, one white. Then I’m sad at the short time it has.
It was after eight before the sun went down tonight, a big stretch.
I stood facing the west and let it pour into me. Between that, the surround sound, the orchestra of birds from three clusters of forest and I did feel as if I’d had some kind of cosmic cleansing experience.
With the girls tucked up in bed and the new lightness I sat by the fire with notebooks, pens, May (Sarton) and Sara (Teasdale) returned from her ill-fated visit with mother.
And I read to myself ‘April’ by Sara Teasdale;
The roofs are shining from the rain.
The sparrows tritter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.
Yet the back-yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree-
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.
I hear you Sara. I think she was talking about waiting for good things you know are going to happen but are taking a long, long, time. You’ve put the work in, are still, putting the work in, and are suddenly waiting to see some results. However, it’s not so bad as all that, if you have the interior knowledge that things are right and moving, and I do. And then I remembered another reason why the T.S. Eliot poem had been on my mind. I’d felt but had almost forgotten how April is to me the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. And it was really ok, I didn’t mind.
So ended the spell of April in me, from storm to calm, from cold to warm, of scents, and tastes, and longing, letting go. I am myself again, I know.
April 28th, state of atmosphere, much improved.
Get all the news and updates re my book on creativity, a complete guide for creatives in hiding HERE Available for pre-order on Amazon in August of this year.