Some of my favourite authors recount stories of their attempts to write, either in bitter cold or sweltering heat, usually in a Parisian garret or New York brownstone. Well, I’d like to add my own epistle of writing hell. A bit of purple prose to while away the hours in between writing about my study.
I sit in my enclosed verandah that is bedecked with louvre windows opened wide to embrace what little breeze wafts through. Bright, hard Queensland sun beats down on the roof overhead – I can hear the stretch and snap and crackle of tin as it heats up. Crickets fight for audio preeminence against my persistent tinnitus – the only difference that I can hear is that the crickets pulse and pause while my ringing continues unceasingly. My body is drenched in sweat – a persistent reminder of this humid, hot summer. 35 degrees Celcius is not very hot – not in dry heat, anyway. But in humidity its heat is strength sapping, torpor inducing. I can barely think, and I am tired all day long. I wash my hands every half hour to dry them off and I must stand up every fifteen minutes and walk about. I drink litres of water, but we have run out of mineral water and it is too hot to walk to the shop for more. Fruit rots in its bowl while fruit flies dance about the brown speckled bananas and overripe tomatoes.
I stand, I sit. I look through my literature review but I cannot concentrate. I change rooms to the kitchen but it is even hotter there. My dog lies in the corner of the room – he has abandoned himself on the floor. The cat takes refuge on the bathroom tiles. I cannot think, cannot sing, cannot eat, cannot write.