'So you served 15 years of a 27 year sentence in Long Kesh. The Maze.'
'The H Blocks.'
'No, before them. It was Nissen huts, then, segregated on sectarian lines. We used to pass notes across each others' huts. So even the Unionists would pass our notes, and we would pass theirs.'
'Did you get time off for good behaviour?'
'I doubt it. We burned the prison down.'
It's not 'writer's block', that's something different altogether. It's a bit like work on Shemlan - A Deadly Tragedy, which was stalled by my decision to publish Olives and Beirut myself. While all that went on, poor old Shemlan took a back seat, unfinished at around the halfway mark. But I went on going to Beirut and visiting the village, the Mountain and other locations in the book. I just didn't write anything.
When I finally sat down to finish Shemlan, jacked into volume 11 death metal and Estonian plain chant, it flew like a jet-propelled Teflon coated flying thing in a vacuum. Hang on, how do things fly in a vacuum if there's no pressure of air or gravity or other opposing force? Help!
So I'm not really angsting about the lack of progress. Things happen in their time and this one obviously needs to 'bed down' a bit before I go on. I trust my instincts well enough by now not to try and keep pushing if my head won't be pushed. The novel's at a crossroads and I need to go back over it, test it against the stuff in my head and correct it before starting construction work again.
I'll know when I'm ready. Life's busy, there's so much going on, distractions are flying like Teflon coated flying things gravitating towards a large body.
In the meantime, any time I get a few moments to sit down to write, I'm ending up scribbling blog posts instead. The paucity of such posts testifies to the lack of time in general.
Where does it all go?