Sometimes, you end up so tired that you can't actually string a sentence together. And the small people responsible for this lack of sleep are often especially grumpy on the days of this tiredness. In fact, their expectations of the standards of parenting probably go up rather than down in these circumstances. Challenging. And while you can negotiate with the large one, the small one is proving to be immune to the power of persuasion in almost any form. Turns out that the magic is all contained in dried raspberries of the kind found only in one specific breakfast cereal. Except, as with all magic, it eventually runs out (there are only so many pieces of dried raspberry per box of cereal, it turns out). A certain beautiful symmetry is achieved by the fact that the big child is rather taken with the pieces of white-chocolate yogurt that are in this same cereal. So I can happily have my plain granola chunks while the children get their cherry-picked goodies. I have taught the big one to sing the line from One Way Ticket that titles this piece, though, so getting your own small human playthings isn't all bad.
Anyway, that's all a bit of a rant about why I end up so bleary in the first place. The real reason I started this post was to write about expression, and how it happens in writing these books. Sometimes, I struggle desperately with a handful of sentences and really have to batter my mind into navigating its way through. Sometimes, it flows out almost unbidden (and these are the times when my carefully planned plot points get clattered by the actual characters, requiring in some cases quite a serious rethink). But when I'm tired, oddly enough, and my verbal skills (and my thinking, feeling and making good decisions skills) all go out of the window, for some reason I seem to have these periods of writing fluency. I don't always like what I've written afterwards, and sometimes it has to be edited with the cold, rational eye of the 'pro' rather than leaving the 'artist' version of me in charge. But progress is often exactly when you wouldn't expect it, in that it comes when I'm at my least lucid in just about every other capacity. I do wonder if some of that is to do with my relentlessly butterfly mind, that at its peak it rattles from one focus to another with such alarming frequency (but, notably, no manner of regularity or predictability) that I am not able to bring any kind of consistent attention to the story. Plot matters are often resolved, for me, when I'm nodding off to sleep and my brain can tune out a bunch of other things that often occupy it. The challenge is remembering how the nifty solution worked the following day (or, in a lot of cases, a week later when next I sit down to write).
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When to the sessions of sweet silent thought