I had forgotten the glorious agony of writing an article for a particular audience ... such is the luxury of writing whatever I want on my blog.
I have been carrying this idea that I could only write this particular article when I was ready ... when I was sure that all I would write would be perfection itself.
Weeks later, I was still wringing my hands about it because the deadline had been far into the future. Then the future arrived and what would I write? How would I incorporate my best images into this text?
I had raised the bar fairly high in my mind ...
Last night, as I was going to sleep, I thought of the series of fountain images I had added to my previous post and I knew that I had it. A beginning point, an inspiration, a concrete image of the feeling I wanted to capture.
And so it was, after our Sunday Belgian breakfast of pastries and coffee, that I sat down to write. And how I wrote ... and wrote, and wrote some more. Finally, slightly lost, I handed it over and asked the more level-headed Belgian bloke if he might read it through and see where I was.
He handed it back and told me ... It seemed, to him, that I might have attempted to squeeze the outline of my entire book into 5 pages of text. It was a little incoherent and he couldn't find a clear line through it. Of course, I had wanted my best stuff in the article ... all of it!
Perhaps a prayer was needed. Something like, Oh enthuisiam, oh passion ... be still so I can write more coherently.
Anyway, that explained my lost feeling and allowed me to pull back out of the work.
And so I reread and found the story I wanted to tell. I had to remove some favourite photographs from the article. I had to disappear some favourite tales too. Paragraphs were slashed as I read.
I need to leave it a few hours now. Weeks would be better. I have always preferred to spend time away from a first draft, sneaking up on it at some later date and hoping to read it as a stranger. It's more effective than you can imagine.
When I write here on the blog I write fast and, for some reason that must be entirely frustrating to those with blog readers, I edit best after I've published. It's a luxury that I don't have when I write for others. Even when I edit for others, the final draft is with them. The post-publish quirk is one that has probably lost me more than a few subscribers. I must work on that.
The thing about writing so intensely, and I had forgotten this peculiar pain, is that when I write it all out like that there is this horrible emptiness when I stop. As if all of my intensity and energy has been poured directly into the writing, like an IV that pumps my blood to a new location ... outside of me.
I came here in an attempt to step back from the intensity of the last few hours. Actually, I did have rather a lot of fun creating storyboards to focus me down on the writing. Here's one I can't use ...
My borrowed 'desk' in Genova. The one by the open window that looks out over the carruggio, and a selection of the flowers that I always buy as that first thing I must do in the city.