It’s that tine of the year when a young man’s thoughts turn to fancy and a young woman’s thoughts turn to a million things because that’s the way their brain processes information.
It is, of course, VD.
Valentine’s Day. Or, as I’m sure we used to call it, Saint Valentine’s Day.
About a hundred years ago, at school, we used to have an inter-class Saint Valentine’s Day postal service – so that you (or someone) could anonymously post a Saint Valentine’s Day card to the object(s) of your (or their) desires.
I think I can remember getting about three cards, over the course of my time at that school.
Of course, there’s always the possibility my memory has failed and the actual number of cards is lower.
Next week, for my part of the country at least, it’s half-term week.
This means that school’s out; children will spend the week not doing homework and generally amusing themselves, whilst some parents spend time and energy trying to think of entertaining and amusing things to do with their children.
And other parents will go to work, noticing how much reduced their commuting time is. And how easy it will be to get a space in the company car park.
We are planning a mini adventure.
And then on Thursday it will be back to work for me (and into a likely bunch of network changes on Thursday night, into the bargain).
The forecast for next week is quite good, so I’m looking forward to four days of fun in the sun activity in the Wilds of Wiltshire.
We’ll see how everyone else in the family feels about it.
I have a cousin who lived for decades in a converted mill. Actually she may still do. I hope that’s the case.
As in ‘old mill by the stream’, not ‘Old Amsterdam’ kind of mill.
Inspired by that cousin I wanted to live in a mill.
I was going to call it ‘Rumour Mill’, and spend all my days making up founded (or unfounded) rumours about people and events.
However, the invention of the Internet means that particular market is well and truly cornered.
But you have to admit that was a great name (if not a great way to pass the time).
We don’t really call them ‘rumours’ any more. Conspiracy theories, that’s the label we use now.
My favourite is the conspiracy theory that we didn’t go to the moon. My second favourite is that we did go to the moon but the filming was done by Stanley Kubrick to isolate us from the potential horrors of another Apollo One-type disaster.
We need to talk. It’s good to talk. You should open up more. I have something to say. Do you have something to say? Have you got something on your mind? Do you want to talk about it?
When the last one of us gets home we turn the key in the lock and say ‘I’m locking the effers out!’ and the other one of us will say something like ‘Good!’
We aren’t sociopaths; there is ample evidence to contradict that. But we both get a little… reticent (someone who doesn’t like to talk).
We just reach a certain point in our day when we don’t want the social construct of talking to someone outside of our inner circle.
I’m the same when I go to the stables. I don’t want to get into big conversations about what kind of a week you may or may not have had.
I’m sure you’re a lovely person and that, but I’m at the stables to get my boy in, groom, tack up, ride his furry little bottom off, untack, groom him, and put him to bed.
And at home, at the end of a long and hectic day, we have the same sense of inner purpose. It’s all about switching off, moving away from the dictates of the working day, into a softer, more comfortable, closer-fitting, envelope of calm.
A bit like your favourite pair of pyjamas. Well no, not like *your* favourite pyjamas, obv. That would be wrong.
Anyway, you’re probably asking yourself where I’m going with this?
Simples. It’s about speech. Or dialogue, to be more precise.
I’m working on The Difficult Second Novel and I have fallen in to a pit of dialogue.
Personal statements. Writing dialogue, is difficult. Writing *good* dialogue is impossible.
But if your characters don’t interact, then you lose a vital leg in your storytelling. And your plot falls over.
I’ve just written 555 words of near-total dialogue and it was not a good experience. It will take much editing to get it down to the level of sharpness that will make it fit with the rest of the project.
It has taken about two hours to produce 555 words that I don’t like much. That’s why I don’t like dialogue. That’s why it isn’t good to talk.