Yesterday was the first day I’ve written much of anything in weeks, and it was remarkably like emerging from a deep slumber. I felt groggy, clumsy, clunky; the individual words easy enough to come by but declining to find a natural order. And then, once wrestled into place, the realization that certain of them refused to comingle peacefully with their neighbors, and the sinking knowledge that a substitute must be found. Darn those substitute words; they’re never as right on their own as the original, and so one substitution leads to another which leads to another until you end up right back where you started, thinking that maybe your first choice wasn’t so bad after all. Screw the neighbors. They’ll just have to deal with the unruly bastard.
(I say “words” but of course what I mean equally is “sounds,” because good writing is both precise in definition and pleasing to the ear, although it is often necessary to sacrifice one for the other.
Still, though: It’s best to be careful with these compromises, or you risk ending up an academic. Or worse yet, a poet.
We are a week into milking, and I like how the clockwork nature of the task gives order to our days. This morning I milked just as the sun came over the trees and fell against Pip’s furred coat only inches from my face, and the smell that rose from that warmed spot reminded me in some vague way of rising bread and was comforting for it.
I milked Pip dry, fed the calf, then the chickens, finally the pigs. Returned to the house, stoked the fire, put on a pan for eggs, and poured a glass of milk from the bucket. I ate standing by the stove, too fast as usual, then walked back outside, promising myself to write something, anything, before day’s end.
So. Promise kept.