Monday, September 12, 2011


We've just got back from a camping holiday. I am looking forward with anticipation to cooking dinner whilst standing, rather than crouched or kneeling over a single-burner stove. I am salivating at the thought of the hot shower. The non-damp bed. Wearing clothes I have not lived in for five days.

We pitched in strong winds (we pegged the tent to the ground before we'd even laid it out properly, to prevent it disappearing over the Welsh hills) and torrential rain. When we'd got the outer up, and I'd crawled inside to put up the inner tent, I had to take off my sodden waterproof coat, and strip off my dripping trousers so as not to make dry(ish) things more wet.

We cooked and ate inside our little, no-standing-room tent because the weather never let up. It was constantly windy, more often raining than not, and universally grey.

Grey, grey, grey.

We had a GREAT time.

Husband said something about it on the way home (driving home through gale-force winds, no less). About how it could have been unremittingly awful, but somehow the golden moments shone through. Like picnics snatched between rain showers, strenuous hikes leading to spectacular places. Thrashing Husband at Monopoly (only at the fourth attempt, sadly).

I like writing stories where I take my characters to hell and back. But it's always a bit of a balancing act to make sure the golden moments are there, to move them forward, to strengthen the bonds between them, to provide contrast so that the grey, grey, grey is even more dreary and hard-work.

I've read some books, one or two, where the grey is unremitting. And I've read some where everything is somehow too good. Both were unsatisfying, to me.

Without the grey, golden is just... a kind of yellow. Without the golden, grey will never be a GREAT time.


  1. Oooo good post. I'm not a fan of unrelentingly gloomy books. By the way you might want to enjoy the hot water as mine is temperamental

  2. I am with you on all grey and all light books...i need both. I wantthe emotional spretrum. However you can keep your, not for me :-)


  3. I don't like gloomy books either - great post!