The house is quiet. Blissfully so; a warmth and silence to the air. Daily walks have resumed, looking for our favourite cats and trees and birds along the way, discussing the day and what’s to come, or what’s already happened. Work continues, writing for myself and for others – pitches to be made, submissions to be followed up, ideas to be crystallised, stories weaving their threads in my mind. As well as the Ambeth Chronicles, I’m now working on a collection of short stories plus another novel, the one where the main character dies in the first paragraph. And of course the housework never stops, cleaning, washing, ironing, managing the minutiae of the family, diary dates and after school activities, the only reward the satisfaction of a task completed. Oh, and I miss her. Her little voice, the interruptions, her singing and laughing and playing around the place, going out and doing things together. I always do, when she goes back to school. But I know she’s happy, she loves learning and friends and fun and so I take comfort in that.
I know I’m lucky, that my office is in my home. And I work hard, damn hard, to get things done. Not just the day-to-day stuff, but also the writing, the stories I believe in. You have to, if you want to get anywhere. I’m also lucky that I can be there for her, for walks to and from school, for ideas and playdates and growing pains. It’s a choice we made as a family, to do things this way and it works for us and, I think, for her.
The thing with life is that it’s different for us all. We all have our own path to travel. And as this world turns and trembles with fire and war and death, we have to take comfort in the small joys that the day brings to us, gratitude for what we have, for the choices we’ve made.
Huh. So that’s interesting. A piece started with the idea of back-to-school turning into a reflection on the greater picture. But that’s how writing works, or at least it is for me. You take a thread and follow it, and sometimes you’re surprised where it leads. Perhaps it’s true for life as well.