I've been very slack this month. But I have two stellar reasons for it. First of all, two weeks ago approximately two square meters of plasterwork collapsed from my ceiling onto my table, obliterating everything on it, and the table itself, which got smashed in two, with one leg snapped clear off.
It was a Monday evening and I was skipping home on the wings of a triumphant day at the office, in my fantastic new job. And you know the sort of evening: you put the key in the door and smirk to yourself... what should I do tonight? Read a book in a bath filled with 300 liters of foam? Dial for a pizza and indulge myself with Legally Blonde? A leafing through Vogue with a side of cumberbatching? The possibilities were endless, until the lounge rose before my very eyes at the top of the stairs. Why was the Dyson over and backwards and what the buggery bloody hell was that stuff on it? Suffice to say my gentle reader, it was a War Zone and this is indeed one of those occurrences in which one picture is worth a thousand words.
Six sacks of rubble and four hours later, I dragged myself to the local Pizza Express to regroup. I left the room (and the kitchen, and the stairs, and the hall), covered by three inches of dust. Lots of people have come and gone since then, lots of pics have been taken, and lots of talk has taken place between insurers which leads me to the only possible upshot: still a hole in the ceiling, still no table, still no computer, monitor, lamp, iPhone and everything else.
This past Thursday, I came across the only rush hour Central Line carriage I've ever seen in which people weren't sardinised to death. As I stepped on at Notting Hill and looked around, I spotted three available seats in a sea of bobbling heads and flapping Metros. Brilliant or what? I was going all the way to Liverpool Street too. But as the train suddenly accelerated to leave the station, I unceremoniously flew backwards, clearing people left and right and eventually coming to rest on my face between the two sets of doors.
This being London and the tube, my exploits rose a handful of eyebrows but no asses.* Amongst a couple of *gasp* are you OK?!, I hastily put my arm (the one that had not been crashed underneath me) up and pretty much yelled I AM FINE I AM FINE, for I was supremely keen to avoid the insult added to the injury: being lifted from the floor by some well-meaning, if only a touch overzealous, fellow passenger. I limped back to the seat I had intended to take and acted like I normally catapult myself across tube carriages for a laugh, sometimes I even hit the ceiling, of course I did not feel a thing.
But man, did it hurt. In fact, the weekend (let alone Thursday at the client office, where I proceeded after the sad episode) has been relatively miserable because the last thing my already injured back needed was such an exploit. It's now Sunday night and after a thoroughly ruined three days, I am starting to feel better. It is at this point that we English LOVE to sigh 'typical'.
You know what? I actually sat down to tell you a little bit about the Writing Maps which I bought at Daunt Books many months back. I only have two, The Café Writing Map and the Write Around The House Map, but there are in fact very many, just have a look here. It won't surprise you to hear that I love them, mostly because they fuse ingenious writing prompts with beautiful illustrations. I know that many writers aren't so complimentary towards these sort of prompts: they are called 'pillars' or 'gimmicks' because, ultimately, you must force yourself to write whether you want to or not, especially if it is your job. In many ways, I agree, but in many others I think that we often come up with wonderful stories by starting from a prompt. Keep your mind open and your eyes peeled: that's the exciting part of being a writer.
*When Vincent tells Max that a man died in the LA subway and people took no notice for hours on end, they left the body in the carriage, I always think that it may as well be London, honestly.