A spell of bright sunshine here in west Wales brings bright illustrations of Dylan Thomas’s ‘force that through the green fuse drives the flower’; vibrant new leaves unfurl, pale buds unfold into blossom and the hedgerows are a jewel box of colour. But all this energy, this renewal, brings, as Thomas’s poem also identifies, a strong sense of time marching on and nagging feeling that there are things I need to get on with.

Seeing the glorious photos my seventeen-year-old niece took when she recently climbed Snowdon reminds Tom of his walk there with my stepson and me that it’s still on my ‘to do’ list. We can just see the top of Snowdon from an upstairs bedroom window so it’s high time I stopped looking at it and walked up it instead! I’ve bought some new boots, taken them out for some test walks and we’re keeping an eye on the weather with a view to heading off to the mountains this week.

Now we’ve completed our utility room, it’s time to tackle the jungle that is our garden. There are three main areas; a front garden with views over Cardigan Bay, a south-facing terrace, lawn and vegetable plot behind the kitchen, and a large sloping wilderness of overgrown shrubs which got away during a spell of very wet weather when the ground on that side turned into a quagmire. We’ve made a start, but, unlike my sister, I definitely didn’t get the gardening gene from our talented mum. I have to keep reminding myself that all the hard work will be worth it!

Looking towards Cardigan Bay
Behind the kitchen
The garden slopes away steeply to the side of the house. Lots of work needed here!

The Work In Progress. Ooh, this has been so flighty and fugitive! Like the garden, it’s rather big and untamed at the moment and I seem to have been particularly prone to bouts of self-doubt. It’s not that I don’t think I can write the book, but as regular readers of this blog will know too well, it’s all the other pressures that come with staying published that sometimes get me down. I suspect the only answer is to shut out the ‘noise’ – other writers’ successes and failures, a wobbly review, the pressure to produce more for less - and stay focussed on the work itself. Now it’s a matter of taking a deep breath and conquering it a bit at a time.

I suppose this is true of everything on my list of ‘things to get on with’. None of them matter in the great scheme – they’re all what our neighbour aptly described as ‘small things in a big world’ – but as I look out of my window every flower that opens is another reminder that time waits for no one


Clare Chase said…
I get that ‘time passing’ feeling most of all during our two-week summer holiday, for some reason. It always turns it into a bitter-sweet experience. I do hope you enjoy your walk up Snowdon and get some really good weather! x
Kathryn Freeman said…
Yes, get up that mountain! My husband forced me up Scafell Pike- and I was so glad he did, because now I can smugly tell you to climb yours!! And I totally empathise with the publishing wobbles. Block out the noise, as you say, and then you will remember how much you enjoy writing. That way, you'll finish it and we can enjoy reading it.
You can do it all Chris! You've already done so much, why not add more to your list of accomplishment? :)

Write for yourself and ignore everyone and everything else. Not everyone was a massive success with their first, second, third, or fourth books. Besides you have so much talent. Share it with us please!
Frances said…
Chris, how wonderful to have a little view of a large mountain from your window. A reminder or perhaps a motivation image. Your new boots will soon be taking you up that mountain!

Although I am not a writer, I do identify with much of what you describe about the creative process, and how each of our individual contributions might fit into a much larger spectrum. i guess that I just accept that what I might create will find some sort of place, and that it is the pleasure of investigating what I might make that keeps me aloft. xo
Flowerpot said…
We all have those doubts though, Chris, don't we? Particularly writers and other creative sorts. Seems to go whit the territory! Well done for your wonderful climb though - that was amazing and I trust you're feeling very proud of yourself!
Chris Stovell said…
Oh no, Clare! Bad time to get it when you're trying to relax!

Thank you for both messages of encouragement, Kate!

Thanks, Chanpreet - all the supportive comments are helping. I'm trying to shut everything out and carry on.

Frances, wise words indeed and prophetic as I've been doing lots of planning which was very hard at first but has been become both productive and useful. x

Sue, you're right - and sometimes it's easier to deal with than at others. And now I'm going to have a little blog boast about that mountain climb!

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