Dear reader, I'm secretly wondering how many times I can write about insects before you clutch your face and wail noooooooo to the universe, before you stage an intervention, before you conclude this blog has jumped the shark and inundate my inbox with a slew of "unsubscribe" emails.
If it makes you feel any better, Tollipop jumped the shark from the get go. It was veering wildly and headed for collision from the very moment I tapped the mic and asked is this thing on?
There are other things I could talk about, come to think of it.
I could describe how mysterious the desert is these days, how the rain comes in torrents and churns up the trails with rocks and roots and the broken limbs of trees. How it seems each time I turn around I see a new cairn, like a sentinel in the distance or taking my breath away as I round a corner, and how these careful monuments infuse the wilderness with an added presence, a sense of being.
I could tell you how I accidentally took a pineapple away from a little old man, how I didn't realize, as he rummaged through the bin beside me, that the pineapple I picked up was one he'd set aside as a potential candidate for final judgement once he'd gone through and touched all the others...how this information dawned upon me the second he looked up with such a stricken expression that I began gesticulating wildly with profuse apologies and assurances of my penchant for his demographic, offering to whisk him away to 7-11 to purchase his silence, or adopt and bring him home where he'd never have to venture out for a pineapple on his own again.
Instead he just looked at me with a crestfallen expression, with eyes which will forever haunt my memory, while I babbled on about cash, ponies, a puppy...to no avail.
Or I could assure you how decidedly unsexy it is to try and write a novel. I could spare you wasting your fantasy quota on the notion novel writing launches you into the realm of creative genius, of deep, unfathomable expressions, of carelessly fantastic outfits which convey how unstudied you are, how innately clever, how hopelessly lost in the world of literary insight.
There is no muse in novel writing, dear reader...or if there is, she's certainly not on call.
There are no mornings to be whiled away in cafés with other bookish types who are likewise unstudied, who speak in languid, cultured tones and drape themselves in scarves and spectacles, pulling off that deep, unfathomable expression so much more deeply than you could ever hope to muster.
There's no mysterious, monied patron waiting to whisk you away to his retreat on the east coast where you may wander through the woods, collecting mushrooms and listening to birdcalls, where someone provides you with an organic lunch and you may retreat to your room later in the afternoon, filled with vast, brilliant thoughts to be committed to paper for the ages.
It goes without saying your room has a view. And a fireplace.
No, dear reader, it's not like that. There is no fireplace, there is no view. To the everlasting disappointment of my tiny, hopeful soul, novel writing is about as far away from such things as it could possibly get.
It's about snatches of opportunity, of brief, mental flashes, of realizing ideas and trying to nail them down whilst packing lunches, helping with homework, and wrestling pineapples away from little old men at the grocery store. It's about having a perfectly free moment to write yet feeling too tired to do it. It's about running into dead ends. It's about feeling dumb for admitting you're trying to write a novel in the first place and wondering if you should attempt something more concrete, so the next time someone asks what do you do in your spare time you could say: I cure cancer, invent chocolate, and clone sheep.
And when he responds, but I thought chocolate was already invented, you look him in the eye and say: exactly.
Oh, it's been a bitter pill to swallow, the reality of novel writing. The reality of doing it while wearing nothing more artful than jeans and a t-shirt, while rushing to pick up kids, scrubbing the same toilets, folding the same laundry, and having bad hair days.
But it is also terribly challenging, terribly elusive, and perhaps meaningless to anyone beyond myself, this act of trying to coax and wring words from my soul which connect to build a living thing, a tiny, complete world.
I'll tell you about the insects another time.