In our flat we measure the start of winter from the day the mice move in. It’s like Tom and Jerry here at the moment, but with three really inept Toms (one human and two dogs) and a Ninja-Jerry who can magic the food (snickers, mostly) off the traps without setting them off, but occasionally sets off a trap anyway for the fun of letting it slam down onto thin air.
I lack the zeal of the three Toms, and find the whole thing sort of funny.
Funny, that is, until it spills over to 3am, when I’m rudely awakened by the three Toms sniffing around the bottom of the bed, opening and closing drawers and shining lights. An explanation I didn’t quite catch, on account of being mostly asleep, involved a dog biscuit behind the fridge, tape along the bottom of the washing machine, and Ninja-Jerry being caught by one of the dogs, then escaping, then being caught by the other dog. And then because said dog seems to think she’s half cat, she carried Ninja-Mouse into our room and promptly released him/her.
So now we have a mouse under our bed. Potentially. Coffee Monster spent the morning taking the room apart (having failed to track the little squeaker down by 4am, at which point he gave up on the hunt and slept, and I gave up on sleeping and went back to reading Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress). He found nothing but mouse poo. I spent the morning dozing on the couch.
It’s been a lovely weekend, in which I got to listen to Ben Okri (along with David Vann, Lisa Blower and Deirdre Shanahan) read at Word Factory. The reading was fantastic, but the real special moment of the evening was the Q&A. Okri read us the first story he had ever had published in the Sunday Times – The Lie which is, ultimately, about recognising the truth (click on the name to read it), and that your truth is not the same as anyone else’s. So it was key that in his approach to the Q&A, he turned the questions to the other authors and on to the audience – bringing to the Q&A a communal discussion and encouraging people to share their truth about writing. For whatever reason, WF#28 was a particularly communal one. I don’t know if it’s that now I know enough people to feel comfortable there, or if it’s that, in the face of one person’s personal problems, there was overwhelming support and respect, but I was reminded of what a haven it is.
November-end always feels like more an all-change season than the resolution-heavy beginning of January. The year’s winding down towards Christmas, and the lack of daylight and the entirely crappy weather always cause me to reflect a bit more on what needs to change. This week I’ve also spent a healthy dose of time spent with people who, without fail, make me want to work harder and be better – so from my current vantage point I’d say quite a lot needs to change. Watch this space.