We are trying to budget for winter, so when the spring comes we can flee. This means lentil stews so thick they purr; this means burrowed deep under duvet by sunset.
Our concept of hardship is wobbly and unstudied. I look upon misery like a spoilt Victorian child marvelling at the quaintness of poverty. I keep it at bay with my talismans: soft warm skin, woollen socks, fairylights in the fireplace.
The kitchen is still stacked with booze from the last party. “Let’s budget,” we say, while I mix rosemary vodka martinis. I am working more in the day: more tutoring, more manuscripts to edit. I remind myself to make time to write. I need to get up earlier, look to November as a prospect for thousands of words.
Today the BBC said they’d put the contract in the post, and I am giddy.
I reread Paul Auster’s Hand to Mouth and give up on the idea of needing to suffer. I let myself be looked after, let him do the dishes, or let them all stack up while we scurry to separate rooms and make the things we make. Loops from his studio are seeping through the walls.
Every jam jar in the house is full of things infusing: chilli chocolate tequila, lemongrass and ginger tequila, beetroot vodka, dill pickle jalapeno vodka, pecan butter bourbon, blue cheese bourbon, popcorn rum, brown butter cinnamon rum. The kitchen smells of charred popcorn and all the pans are dirty.
Dancing Girl Press said they’d send me the galleys mid-November, and everything is so fucking wonderful I am terrified to say it aloud, lest I jinx it all.