The year turns, and I have things still to do before I sleep.

I am a fraught person. I seem to have lost a day somewhere this week – what on earth have I done with it?! – but then, staying up until 4am trying to get things done (including ironing, ffs), can seriously alter one’s perception of time. Quite detrimentally too.  And I have lists. I have lists in various pockets, in various rooms, in varying states of nearing completion. Perhaps I need a Master List? It can’t hurt. Much. As for the lost time, I’ll get it back somehow; the year has turned, the Longest Night has passed in silent darkness ( I missed the Lunar Eclipse) and soon the hours of lengthened light will slowly make themselves felt.

We’ve finally had Real Snow here. Very pretty, bloody cold, and more than a little irritating. Oh well. The art of being sanguine is a fine thing to cultivate. We can’t usefully do anything about the weather except learn to live with it and get on with it. At least we’re not snowed in here, unlike other unfortunate souls elsewhere.

Thinking about it, I do believe this will be the first White Christmas I will have ever experienced. My daughter is terribly excited at the prospect. And talking of first experiences, I took her to see her first film at the cinema, The Voyage of the Dawntreader. She loved it, although the sea serpent was jolly scary – thank goodness we saw it in 2D. And it was a lovely film, moving and magical, and exciting, just as it should be. The adaptation for the screen was tremendously effective too; I’m not going to go into the tired debate about whether the book is better than the film, or vice versa. A book is a book, a film is a film; different structures apply to the narrative and its effective presentation/communication with its respective audiences. But in adapting one into the other, choices have to made as to what stays and what is changed. The fine details must be relevant to the altered narrative to justify keeping them. So, given how the Dawntreader’s story has been altered (I won’t spoil it for you) I found it strange that what, in the book, is a small but deeply felt moment of faith and love answered in the darkness, when Lucy calls to Aslan to help them escape Dark Island, becomes, in the film, sadly pointless. The great white seabird appears, but to what purpose? They aren’t trying to escape the Dark at that point, but are having to confront it. I can only hope that this apparent blip is the result of choices made in the cutting room, and that it will regain something of its emotional power and resonance in the eventual release of a director’s cut dvd/blu-ray. So if anyone knows Michael Apted, could they sweetly mention this to him? I’d appreciate it!  ;  )

Right. Back to the pursuit of making Christmas happen. There are presents yet to wrap, cakes to ice, paper stars to make. Here are some I made earlier.

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And we’re still foozling

The dilemma is beginning to resolve itself – the threads of the story that must be woven into the existing fabric are slowly unravelling into something ribbon like. They have yet to be written, but they are becoming clearer. Motives and reasons that were hidden – invisible, even – a year ago, now are coming to the fore, making the internal logic of the piece stronger. At least, I hope they will prove to do so. It would seem that for me, the process of ‘story’ never really ends. If this is the case, then I foresee the next few years will be rather fraught as new ideas demand to mesh with old words. Perhaps I may have to become strict, limiting the number of additions clamouring for inclusion – in the manner of Humpty Dumpty on a Saturday night, when the portmanteau words come crowding for to be paid…

I love that so much that feels as if it should be nonsensical, but isn’t (all a matter of personal taste/definition of personal sanity, etc, of course) can be brought back to the measured wonderment of Lewis Carroll. He’s a sort of touchstone of my creativity. In part because I read him as a child, because I still reread him when ill – such a comfort! – and because of the pleasure in sharing him with my own daughter. His Wonderland has become part of our shared language, at home, as well as underpinning a large corner of the wider culture of the English language. I recently went to see Tim Burton’s film, and enjoyed his realisation of Wonderland in despair, immensely. To be honest I didn’t see the point of the 3D effects – pretty enough, but I didn’t feel they particularly enhanced the telling of the tale. But the characterisations were vastly entertaining – especially, to my mind, the Cheshire Cat, a personal favourite of long standing. Yes, on the whole, it is safe to say that I liked it. I did like the Mad Hatter too; combining strangeness and pathos in an equation that balanced nicely in the details. And that strangely chilling frisson as the White Queen told her prisoner that she did not owe him a kindness – such implacability in mercy, tempered with justice; an interesting effect I should like to use in La Nouvelle Cendrillon – another of those threads to be rewoven.

But the main obstacle to the matter of writing, and the primary contributory factor to what I like to call foozling – sort of like pootling, but less focused – is my current inability to sleep well. Some nights indeed I have barely slept at all. There is a crash coming, I can feel it. Perhaps I need it, in order to reboot my system. And the ridiculous thing is, that I love sleep, I crave it. Yet I crawl into bed, and it evades me. Still, there’s always tonight…