Well, I think we can safely say that spring has well and truly sprung in the northern hemisphere. Talk about a grand stretch in the evening – I’m rejoicing here at the myriad signs of spring all around. Every time I go for a walk I see everything busily budding, and I love it. Still chilly, still the occasional frosty morning, but a good share of blue overhead too, which always gives me a lift: I feel as if the sky is opening up and letting us all breathe more easily. And the birds in my neighbour’s garden – he has lots of trees – are in full voice every morning and evening. Nature’s choir, more tuneful than anything us mere mortals can produce.
On the writing front, I’m approaching the final furlong in the first draft of the new book. I LOVE when I can see the finish line – and even though I know there’s plenty of work still to come, it’s wonderful that the big slog of the first draft is drawing to a close. I reckon another week or ten days will do it, and after a further couple of weeks for the final read-through, I can tune out for a few precious weeks while my editor and agent cast beady eyes on it. I’m planning lots of walking, gardening and reading, and I can’t wait. I’ll be coming and going from Limerick to Clare – as summer draws closer I develop a real hankering to be on the coast, or near enough to walk to the sea, so the Miltown Malbay house will be dusted down and pressed back into service. I haven’t stayed there since December, so I’m really looking forward to being back.
Mam is doing well after her fall last month. Back walking the roads of Limerick – everyone on her route knows the little old woman with the stick – and she’s loving the longer days and budding gardens too. She’ll turn 95 in July, all going well. A hooley is planned! In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the always interesting Listowel Writers Week at the end of May, and a writing workshop later in the summer with the wonderful Niall Williams, in the hope that it’ll give my keyboard tapping a new sparkle! If you haven’t read Niall, I particularly recommend his latest novel, This Is Happiness. Pure reading pleasure.
Look after yourselves, enjoy the spring.