I planted the vege garden again last night. It was a hot day so things like watering and planting had to wait until after tea. My three broccoli plants are growing very well and have very cute little broccoli heads in the middle of them. They’re called Mavis, Phyllis and Maud. I’m not sure naming plants is such a good idea when you know the day will come to cut out the cute broccoli and boil it. I won’t tell Mum I’m having second thoughts about harvesting them, she’ll have me committed. Anyway, after my 90 minutes of labour I had a row of lettuces, a row of chinese veges (that’s what the label says, I’ll tell you what they are when it becomes more obvious) and several rows of beetroot. I watered them and put snail bait around them, then talked to them and told them to enjoy their home and “grow”. I also planted some pretty flower plants in places where there were gaps and a lacy, silver plant that looks fab next to the heavily flowering bush rose. Checked them this morning, one dead snail and all the new plants are sitting up and paying attention.
I found a really lovely new site yesterday. It’s called Bestseller Bound and it’s peopled by writers and it feels very helpful and optimistic and welcoming. Check it out.
Today we have visitors for tea and it has thrown us into a flurry of preparation. We have my niece, her partner and her brother, my nephew. The lamb is in the fridge and so is the wine. New potatoes and carrots from my brother’s vege garden. I’m out shortly to get the fresh strawberries and ice-cream. If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Cambridge there’s a strawberry grower called Kanes on Kaipaki Road. The strawberries are large and red and luscious, more importantly they have an intense strawberry flavour. I love fruit that tastes the way it should.
I’m reading a very cool book about cats and when I’ve finished it I shall post an Amazon review. It is full of fascinating, obscure and hilarious true things about cats. If you’re a ‘cat person’ as I am, you’ll love this!
And so to today’s famous writer’s tips, from Anne Enright. You may know who she is, I had to google her. She is a Man Booker prize-winning Irish author who has written four novels.
1 The first 12 years are the worst.
2 The way to write a book is to actually write a book. A pen is useful, typing is also good. Keep putting words on the page.
3 Only bad writers think that their work is really good.
4 Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand.
5 Write whatever way you like. Fiction is made of words on a page; reality is made of something else. It doesn’t matter how “real” your story is, or how “made up”: what matters is its necessity.
6 Try to be accurate about stuff.
7 Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.
8 You can also do all that with whiskey.
9 Have fun.
10 Remember, if you sit at your desk for 15 or 20 years, every day, not counting weekends, it changes you. It just does. It may not improve your temper, but it fixes something else. It makes you more free.