There are days when the pen flies across page after page, my fingers numb from trying to keep up with the thoughts welling like a newly burst spring. Then there are the other days when it doesn’t matter how I try, I just cannot will my fingers to write a word. Those are the days I revert to my thinking tasks. I have several, and I am glad of these times because without the stale writing moments I don’t think much housework would get done. The best one is mopping the floors. No, I don’t understand it either. When I’m driving I get inspiration from the view; walking the dog the same; ironing usually inspires me from a tactile point of view or because I’m listening to music or watching the news. But mopping the floor? Perhaps it is the smell of floor cleaner or maybe the very act of cleaning has the effect of a subconscious spring clean and the fog is wiped away.
Whatever it is, however it works, floor mopping energises my thought processes and the last scene I’d written slowly unfolds in my mind; characters develop and take on a more three-dimensional form, as I wring the lank strands of the mop-head the story fleshes out and moves onto another scene, dialogue and glimpses of intrigue feed themselves in between each swipe of the mop.
Then, invariably, the dog is brought back from her walk, the floor reverts back to its grungy state, but I don’t care as my mind is now flooded with phrases, arguments, words, words, words and I smile and wave away my daughter’s apologies. After all, I can keep cleaning the floor but the words in my head won’t stay forever.