I am not alone!
Oh the joy to be found in the simple act of chatting about writing and books with likeminded people.
As a long distance (different side of the world) student I just don’t get that casual chitchat that I remember from previous study. There’s no water cooler in our house and when I do pass the cat in the hallway she barely makes eye contact.
Factor in living in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and you can see my dilemma.
But then I discovered an existing group for people interested in writing and talking about it – in English.
It was fun. I came home feeling inspired and I realise how much I’ve missed hearing the opinions of other people and forcing my own upon them in return.
My family are always happy to chat with me but it’s never going to be the same, is it? And I’ve got friends who love books as much as I do, but there’s something about a dedicated group that is different.
Writing and research are such solitary activities so it makes a change to hear the words out loud instead of just in your head.
The glass of wine I had helped, too.
Some days I look over at her lying in her basket and I know her day is turning out to be much more productive than mine. She always looks back at me with a carefully arranged blank expression, not wanting to destroy whatever confidence it is that I still have, her love for me preventing her from flaunting her high level of productivity and the fact that she gets more done with the flick of one ear than I often do after a full day at my computer.
I don’t begrudge her this high level of productivity. Instead I take the time to observe and see how she does it, although, like all the best magicians, she doesn’t make this easy. No, not at all.
It’s then I start to wonder if the ability to get done what you’ve promised yourself you will do is something inherent, that this ability or the lack of it is immediately apparent that first time you open your eyes and look at the world and that if you don’t have it you probably shouldn’t even bother.
I tell my cat this and, knowing there are no words that can adequately be used to reassure me, she climbs out of her basket and comes to sit on the chair next to me, staring into my eyes, a cloud of fur surrounding her head like a halo.
This never fails to bring me comfort and as a reward I give her some food. After that she goes back to her basket or to the sofa or to some other place where I won’t be able to find her, at least for a while. I know she is giving me the space to think about what has happened, and that if I am ever to complete my next paragraph I must get started, without her.
My cat is a master at the fine art of tough love. And I love her for it.