It has been a harsh and silent winter. The energy has slept, voiceless, under the snow blanket for longer than we are used to. It has become difficult to believe that green shoots will ever emerge. The words that cascade through the Summerlands have not come. We have been unable to write for some time now, perhaps for many months – we cannot remember how long. No poetry; no prose. Each attempt produces jagged, awkward phrases, malformed paragraphs and stanzas that hides in shame from the angry eyes of other men’s judgement. Our blog has languished un-posted and our online entries have been confined to old material and the kind comments of those who understand there are times when we cannot be creative.
But winter is a season familiar to us. And we have learned that instead, we must devote our time to the practicalities of being an independent author, selling and distributing our existing work.
Today, we visited the New Forest town of Fordingbridge to drop off stock at local landmark #Fordingbridgebookshop. Job complete, we take an hour out to walk at #FroghamCommon, where we used to walk daily when we lived here, until 2015. Nothing has changed. Matt seems to remember the place. Time was when he would rush about the Common in an interminable frenzy of rabbit-chasing, imaginary and real. I am glad that in his whole life he has never caught anything. It does not matter to him. The joy is in the chase. But now he is old, 99 in dog years, and we no longer live in Frogham. He is content, for the most part, to walk beside me, disappearing momentarily into the gorse, drawn by some lingering shadow-memory of the almost-caught that is the preoccupation of the rapidly aging, canine and human.
We turn to head for home, but not before we visit the iconic #RoyalOak pub at #Gorley, where one of us consumes a traditional New Forest Ploughman’s lunch. We shall not disclose which of us it was. Then it is time to make our way south again, towards the coast and home, where we shall prepare for next week’s visit to the Hay-on-Wye Festival.
We are writing again now; just a little you understand. It feels like the early snowmelt when spring comes to the high Alpine country. We are laying the foundations for the third and final novel of our trilogy, ‘Maranatha.’The first two volumes, ‘Vicious’ and ‘Too,’ are complete and are scheduled to appear in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Our attention has turned to the third and final volume (working title ‘Deus’), whose skeleton is begining to form as spirit stirs the dust, as it did to form the first man. Background concepts come into focus. Lines of verse appear. Paragraphs of dialogue begin to crystalise.
Renewed creativity, like the first snowmelt, is sweet, but is slow to reach the low country of the pen. Snowmelt does not struggle. Though its progress may be impeded by winter detritus that has built up in the unused streambeds, the gentle call of the sun, sparkling upon the frozen silence of winter, cannot be ignored. Drop by drop the power builds, until it breaks through, as springtime after springtime, year by year, it has always done, to cascade headlong down the mountainside, growing in force, unstoppable, flushing out the debris of winter and bringing life to thirsty land below.
So now we do as we have always done. And when the spirits speak we pull off the road, extinguish the engine and gather the sweetwaters before they can be drawn down into the long-parched thirsty earth to be lost forever.
There have been times in the silence of the recent weeks when we have wondered if we would ever write again. But now, once more, the words are our domain and we feel the power pulsing through the conduits of the soul once more. There is no novel yet. There is only the earliest hint of the skeletal structure of a novel. But we recognise this land. We have lived in this country before, even if, for the moment, we feel ourselves interlopers. This land is the bedrock on which we will fabricate the edifice to come. Breaking dry ground does not come easily. Many tools will be broken, expended, discarded, in the excavation of this foundation.
But we know what it is to live with the pulsing respiration of our own fluctuating emotions. And we have soujorned long enough in the frozen mountains. With the breaking of spring, it is time to return to the summer grazing of the Alpine Meadows.
At last we are writing again. ‘The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.’
And we know why we were born.