I see my posts have taken on a festive theme. It’s quite accidental, though I must say I do enjoy Christmas. I even make my own cake. But I digress. Really, this post is about snow.
I keep a notebook. A green notebook. It’s where I record all my passing ideas: future books, work in progress, work in revision. I have to carry it everywhere because I literally have no free time. Sometimes I will scribble one line at desperate speed in between frantic bouts of housework, commuting, or childcare, or the very last thing at night. Often they are tiny things, barely there: a change of name for a minor character, a rewrite of one line that’s been bothering me. Once I wrote: ‘A martial art that gives you cat-like powers?’ on a page otherwise filled with junk, and a reminder to buy some perfume for my wife (and even that turned out to be the wrong brand).
Sometimes, making a jotting, I despair. There’s no way these bits and pieces could ever amount to anything. But it’s like snowfall. A snowflake hits the ground, melts, is gone. Watching snow, you feel it could never settle, never cover a whole country in white. But it does, because it keeps falling. My notebook, I see, supplies a steady fall of snow. A snowfall that may eventually become a crisp white inch of book.
Metaphor not quite wrung dry. Bear with me. I remember one snow day from early childhood. I was five-ish. My elder brother Simon headed to the front garden to have a snowball fight with a friend. I preferred the safety of the back garden. I started to roll a tiny lump of snow. It grew as I rolled it along, but not noticeably. Simon’s last words before he left me were, ‘Huh! What a silly little snowball.’
Those words stayed with me all that afternoon. Evidently, they have stayed with me all my life. Because when Simon finally returned from his snowball fight, I was pushing a snowball as big as myself.