By Veronica

Le jambon

"The ham" is what this slab of rock is known as in our village. Oddly enough, from the village 3 km down the road it looks like a fish head, or a dinosaur. Extra is a mono version ... I find it really hard trying to do vines in mono.

We decided it was winter today. So S has swept the chimney, we've moved the furniture into its winter positions, and lit the woodburner, using the firewood that's been languishing in the garage for two years now. Normally we'd be hoping to spend half the winter elsewhere, but we daren't plan for that at the moment.

Today's bit of joy provided by Hilary Mantel, empress of novelists, answering writers' and readers' questions in the Guardian. I know I have read some of the essays in Mantel Pieces (ha!), but I will buy it anyway. I discovered her years ago through her memoir Giving up the Ghost, and I think it's time I read it again.

Choice quote from the article: "If you think of any worthwhile novel – its intersecting arcs, its intertwined themes and metaphors – no one is clever enough to do it. When you have crammed your head with data, you have to take your hands off and see what shapes the story forms. You must trust the process, and that can be difficult, because you have to quell anxiety; the task is to get out of your own way. I think this is true for all worthwhile fiction, not just historical fiction. At the centre of your work is an act of faith in the novel form. You employ what Keats called “negative capability” – you must endure doubt and follow paths without signposts. "

But there is so much there to ponder on.

Sign in or get an account to comment.