It’s generally a bad sign when the cleanest room in my flat is the study, but it appears I’ve reached that point. I predict a day of epic tidying and cleaning in my future, but right now I’ll settle for getting the washing up done and putting away the clean laundry.

That’s next hour’s problem, though. Right now there is coffee and bloggery and answering some emails. Possibly some toast while I try to work out whether the toaster is really broken, or just bitching about the cold. It feels like that kind of afternoon.


Every now and then I come across people who really, really like the idea of creativity. It drives me crazy. Otherwise ordinary conversations are derailed by statements like “writing? Wow, it must be nice to be so creative” or “I’m a writer and creativity is one of my strengths,” mostly because I then froth at the mouth and stomp around until someone gives me a cup of tea and tells me to have a lie down.

Creativity is one of the most ill-defined words in our culture, with a myriad of different meanings that all rely on understanding the context in which it’s used. And unlike other context-driven words – like, say, love – you can never be entirely sure which context people are using when they deploy creativity. It’s too bound up in myths about muses and inspiration and the idea that somehow creativity is automatically a transcendent thing.

Near as I can tell, creativity is just training yourself to see the connections between things sooner than other people. Or doing it naturally, in an “inspiration” driven rush, and never questioning how it is you just did what you did.

Everything after that is process, actually sitting down and making things, and once you’re at that point there’s very little creativity can do to help you.


Toast with ginger marmalade for breakfast, confirming that the toaster is either on its last legs or simply unable to cope with winter. Even turned up to its highest setting, the best it seems to manage is “lightly browned”.

It seems to be the month for appliances going wrong around these parts. My mobile phone is starting to develop some of those hiccups that occur when you’ve owned a mobile phone for a a while. Not enough to be unusable, but enough to be occasionally annoying.


Here is a thing I’ve discovered this week: the version of Claw in my head no longer resembles the (unfinished) draft version of Claw I was writing before my dad’s illness last year.

This isn’t a huge surprise. The news of my dad’s heart attack basically hit like a depth charge to the subconscious, blowing apart the various stories and projects under construction, and it’s only recently that I’ve had the brain-space to go back and start trying to fit things together. But the opening scene for Claw that I wrote this week looks more like one of the closing scenes I’d planned for the first draft, a couple of sub-plots have been dropped away, and the book seems to be drifting towards the darker side again.

Still not sure whether it has a happy ending or not. I’m not even sure if the new beginning is right, but it feels more like the beginning of the book than the older one did.

And it’s becoming a fun book to write again, which is a good sign because, for a while there, I thought it was unlikely I’d ever find Aster stories fun to write again. At some point tomorrow I’m going to get to the first corpse in the book, and I’m unexpected excited about figuring out how to put the scene together.

  1 comment for “Sunday

  1. 25/07/2011 at 8:42 AM

    The creativity comment is an odd one, and one I hear more recently. At least when "talented" is used dismissively one can point out the years of writing/drawing on lecture notes. "Creative" is like saying, "Oh, you write – that's so *writery*". Well – yes, I am creative because I am creating.

    On the other hand, a young friend recently asked me, not "where do you get your ideas?" but "how do you develop your ideas?" which was fun and interesting to answer and discuss.

    Re the toaster – do multiple retoastings work at all? I don't recommend using candles – they take too long and make the bread taste like paraffin.

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