The world is decked in white and green. Spring is tipping into summer and the earth suddenly seems more vibrant. Lush greens laden with the clotted cream of hawthorn. Cow parsley frothing in the hedgerows. Horse chestnut flowers, service tree and rowan blooms, dandelion clocks. Even the butterflies are all white today. Cherry blossom, nearing its end, is snowing in the breeze, lazy petals floating to the ground. Tiny seeds, encased in fluff dance in the air. It’s a quiet, lazy day. The ducks are sleeping or preening, the birds are singing but invisible. If they’re working at spring, they’re doing it out of sight.
Spring has been like treacle. May has been an endless month. I’ve been be-set by disquiet, unable to settle to anything. My work in progress is finished. I have revised it twice and there is nothing more to be done until it’s had its first reading and I have some feedback to work with.
I’ve been in mourning for the story that has ended. We spend months, sometimes years, with a story. We live with the characters. They are family, friends, sometimes closer than that. As much as they can be difficult at times, I find it a comfort to return to their world. So there is a celebration at the end of a story, but after the celebration is the mourning. I’ll tinker with it, I’ll revise it, but I’ll never write that story again.
At the end of my story there’s a gap where the writing of it was. I slipped into a habit of writing every day and without that there’s something missing. I feel the need to begin again, but I’m struggling to find a story. I start, with an idea that was always going to be my third novel. I write a prologue with gusto and stop. I attempt a first chapter but it stalls. The characters are poised to embark on a story if only I can tell it. But this is where doubt seeps in. Am I stuck because I’m following the wrong idea, or because I don’t yet know what the story will be? Or perhaps – and this is the real fear – I don’t have another story in me.
Winter is my time for dreams. Perhaps this brazen spring light is too harsh for dreams to flow. But the solstice will soon be upon me, the time for empowerment and renewal. And today the vibrant earth and the freshness of those whites and greens stirs something. I watch a mother and daughter playing beneath a cherry tree in the park. They shake the branches to make a snow storm of the blossom. I watch them laugh, lost in their own game. There’s a story there. There are stories everywhere. Back at home, I find the thread of the story I’m seeking and follow it.