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It is a fact universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a completed novel has either a wife or a maid. I have neither. I am a woman who lives alone (by choice – I’m not sad or anything.) And in any case, even if I could afford one, my socialist inclinations make me feel slightly guilty at the idea of employing another woman to do my housework.

I am also a woman who has a love-hate relationship with procrastination.

Recent events have kept me from my writing. The timing was interesting. I’m waiting for my Editorial Notes (please forgive caps – still excited and can hardly believe I’m even due any.) With draft zero Book 2 tucked away for the duration I was at a bit of a loose end anyway. I had my notes for Book 3 to play with and an unexpected trip to Cornwall to visit my family fitted very nicely thank you.

I’ve been back for two weeks now and once again, the Muse nags. The other day I dipped into The Hours by Michael Cunningham and a scene near the beginning where Mrs Woolf (for it is she) takes herself downstairs in the early, seductive writing hour, helps herself to coffee and proceeds in the direction of her study via the printing room. Leonard (already at his proofs) waylays her.

“Have you had breakfast?” he asks.
“Yes.”
“Liar.”
“I’m having coffee with cream for breakfast. It’s enough.”
“It’s far from enough. I’m going to have Nelly bring you a bun and some fruit.”
“If you send Nelly in to interrupt me I won’t be responsible for my actions.”

And this, dear reader, is where Mrs Woolf and I part company. I long for a ‘Nelly’ to interrupt me with a bun and some fruit: blessed Nelly, who would then disappear and attend to the chores leaving me free to create deathless prose. Or, at the very least, get to grips with the latest notes for Book 3. My scribbles are accumulating and I need to get them organised while I wait for my EN’s.

I can feel a return to work coming on. In the absence of a Nelly, I must make an effort.

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