This week’s been smoother overall and also busier, which I will in no way complain about because having work is good right now and not everyone is lucky to have it. Anyway, in a world where there is still just one single thing happening — with all the trimmings such as a rage against celebrities (well done, world) and fears of dictatorship — I accidentally happened upon something profound.
I love daffodils. They are among my favourite flowers. This year, unlike other years, we were able to be here when they were in bloom and I was very happy about this fact. Until I took a closer look at them.
My poor daffodils have been invaded by some aggressive insect that is literally sucking the life out of the blooms before they open. The bastards are small, black and soft, which I established empirically. When squashed, they bleed green, and I shall now pass on the opportunity to make gentle fun of people I disagree with because, well, because. Unfortunately, I can’t spend my whole day lurking by the flowerbeds squashing the invaders. I had to pick the flowers.
Like many little girls I used to be an enthusiastic flower-picker in my youth. Now, I’d rather enjoy the flowers as nature meant them. I hope this counts towards my defence when we’re all put on trial by the future world government. Just joking. Or am I? Anyway, this time I had to pick them to save their lives or at least extend them.
Obviously, a parallel between my necessary flower-picking and the half-global obligatory self-isolation was unavoidable. I have to say I’m quite proud of spotting the profundity.
Queueing is good
I woke up from one of my film-like dreams the other morning and between the time I first stirred and the time I got out of bed, which is usually about half an hour because I’m so self-employed I can afford it, the dream’s plot had turned into such a brilliant story idea I couldn’t wait to get it out of my head. The problem was, I felt guilty because I was already in the middle of another story, the ghost story.
I couldn’t concentrate on the ghost story. I had to write the new one. And the closer I got to my laptop, the more clearly I saw it was not a one-off story. It was a story with serialisation potential. Now this was a big problem.
I readily admit I take prioritisation seriously. If I don’t prioritise, my life would be chaos and I don’t want my life to be chaos. So I’ve learned to prioritise. No exceptions. No mercy. Until the moment when my brain is clapping, whooping, and jumping up and down, shouting “Write this! Write this!” It doesn’t care about publishing potential. It doesn’t care about readers. It wants the story black on white and it wants it immediately. So I gave up to make my brain shut up.
Once it was out I thought how nice it would be if ideas could queue like decent people. An idea pops up, I acknowledge it, taste it, roll it around my brain, take some notes, expand them, write, rewrite, edit, etc. How much neater life would be if that were the case.
Instead, I dropped my work in progress for another work that, if I’m not careful, will become my work in progress before the first one is finished. Luckily, I’m nearing the end of the first draft for the ghost story so if I can delay the inevitable by a week all will be well. Fingers crossed. Also toes. But honestly, a vampire and a were-basilisk? However could I have resisted? It sounds like such a good joke.
The great zombie swindle
I didn’t want to raise the question lest anyone think me cruel, cynical or ungrateful but I’ve seen other people complain about it so I will, too. Where are the zombies?
They gave us the Everything of the Living Dead. They gave us World War Z (the book, not the film) and The Zombie Survival Guide. They gave us The Walking Dead. They ruined the last one but still. And now all we’ve got is a bloody virus keeping people at home and turning no one into a zombie. Us fans have every right to feel cheated out of their hopes and dreams.
Think about it: this virus is ruining people’s lives but they still have to think about the immediate future because lockdowns will end soon enough and we’ll be back to normal, which is to say back to not learning anything from the experience and settling into our good old ruts with a sigh of relief or possibly a groan of heartburn because we’ll be stuffing ourselves with food because, well, we survived and we’re back in the rat race. I used to think this phrase was out of circulation but it definitely isn’t.
How much better it would have been for everyone — except the billions of zombies, I guess — if the virus was the right kind and populated the world with reanimated corpses? We would have had to really get back to basics and it would have been a lot better for the planet, too. Oil prices? Please. Lockdowns? We would have been fortifying our homes and staying inside without any government having to tell us to do it.
We would have relearned valuable skills lost along the way from prehistory to postmodernism. I may even have had the chance to learn to navigate using the cardinal points. Anything would have been possible. Talk about a clean slate. And no social networks, after a certain point. But no, we’ll just outsit the pandemic, crawl out into the sun and start putting the world back together the way it was three months ago. No, we won’t learn anything. You’ll see. It would have been so much better with zombies.