One of the first things I do each morning is to draw the curtains and fling open my bedroom window to see what kind of day awaits me. It’s one of the great joys of the new bedroom, having a bank of windows facing east (though the light was hard to adjust to until I installed thick curtains). The hills drop away below the windows down to the valley floor. A series of dams step down the gully. Each morning there are ducks on the dams, or quail scurrying from under the house, or a wallaby drinking from one of the dams. Right now the waterweeds are flowering and the surface of the water that isn’t covered with duckweed is dotted with white. The grass is thick and rustles constantly with the breeze and animal scurryings. Fist-sized dragonflies alight on the fence wire and the wagtails dart to try and catch them. Enormous grasshoppers heart-stoppingly leap up and disappear as suddenly.
Until this morning, the sun shone directly in my face as I opened the window. Today, the sunlight was oblique. The sun is heading northwards. Autumn really is here, in spite of the contradictions of continued warm days. The evenings now are cool and the mornings crisp. Still, this is Queensland in early autumn and t-shirts and shorts continue to be the order of the day even if one starts out wearing a sweatshirt.
My early mornings are now spent on the sofa rewriting the book. I get through about five pages in my fifty or so minutes of quietness. I read recently that writers are either “putter-inners” or “taker-outers.” I definitely fall into the category of putting in. I feel as though I am adding flesh to the skeleton that I have constructed. I have pages of paper covered with asterixis and arrows. I worry that my characters are too uni-dimensional or that the dialogue is bland. I try to avoid anachronisms while also trying to write in a natural conversational style. It’s hard work and who knows what will come of it, but it’s my work. I won’t spend my whole life wondering if I could write a novel.
The light moving across my page reminds me that the year is moving along. The election has been and gone. The minister relevant to my work has been re-elected, but who knows if she will retain her portfolio? Even if she does, research priorities and budgeting may change. I’m taking this time of relative quietness to recover from the renovations, organise myself and write what I can. The world keeps turning and I with it.