You’re all very disciplined out there. Very structured. Very ordered. I am, as ever, impressed and a little bewildered. The concept of actually sitting down and writing something in more or less the right order fascinates me, and maybe I should try it one day, but I’ve never managed to write a full outline until I’ve already got a few thousand words of odd description, arguments, revelatory moments, and the like, already in draft.
Take this morning. I have two days left for last ditch revision (sadly not a typo, I would be much happier doing last minute revisions), and I nipped out for some pop and a packet of biscuits, about ten o’clock. As I was leaving the corner shop a young man came in wearing shorts (more suitable for yesterday’s weather than for today’s) and asked, in a drunken slur, if they sold booze.
And then there’s my friend Nathaniel Sands, who I wrote most of an outline for several years ago, lost interest in, rediscovered earlier in the spring, pushed back down the queue . . . Now I’ve known all along that part of the way through he gets cataclysmically drunk, and I know all about an encounter that he has shortly afterwards, which in some ways was the genesis for the whole story, but the actual getting drunk and then dragging himself reluctantly out of the house was just a dry line that wouldn’t sing to me. And now . . .
If I’d closed the curtains it might have all come out differently. Who can say? If I’d closed the curtains the flashing lights of a passing police car might never have woken me. If I’d closed the curtains, I might have slept myself sober, and picked up my life as I had picked it up before.
I reached for the bottle, found it empty, and moved restlessly around the flat. I don’t keep booze; that wouldn’t be smart. I got as far as running myself a glass of water, and if it had been just a little later I might have been sober enough to anaesthetise myself with bad TV and wait out the night, but when I glanced at the clock I found it was early. Early enough to buy spirits in a city overrun by students. Early enough to be drunk enough to think that was a good idea.
But I have revision to do, so I’ll clamp down on that line of thought until Tuesday.