Something is squeaking in my room, and no no NO it is not my small bewhiskered friend Alphonse, he of the beret and the Gauloise and the stinky cheese. (I upset him by stuffing all the mouse holes with wire wool and peppermint-soaked cotton, and haven’t seen him since.) Maybe there is always something squeaking in my room at half past three in the morning. I wouldn’t really know because as a rule I am asleep at that time, with earplugs squeezed in my lugholes on account of all the outside noises I still haven’t gotten used to.
Maybe it’s my brain that’s squeaking. This book I’m writing has been kicking my arse lately, and insisting on getting me up in the middle of the absolute night if I want to achieve plenty wordage, which I do. Writing books is hard. It’s so hard it amazes me that anyone has ever actually managed to do it. It’s so supremely difficult that I can see now why some people will do anything but anything to avoid writing books, no matter how much they insist that’s what they really really want more than anything. I know plenty of ‘writers’ who don’t write. Edinburgh is seething with them. There’s a whole literature ‘scene’ in Edinburgh that pretty much seems like one big long excuse for not actually writing very much. (I put ‘scene’ in scarequotes because I wouldn’t want you to confuse it with an actual scene that’s like, you know, happening and groovy.)
You’d think there would be some kind of balance, a happy medium between poncing around on the ‘scene’ being a ‘writer’, and being awake at three-thirty in the morning fighting with your story-brain so hard that you are seriously considering attempting to persuade a mouse to write that tricky third act of your novel.
But that is not the squeak of a mouse. Perhaps it is the moon that is squeaking. Perhaps this is how the moon sounds: sharp and squeaky like a broken chair. A broken chair… Oh.
Oh, I see.