I like to live slowly. Modern life is too fast for me. That may be because I was brought up without the go-faster gadgets of science, and now that I can afford them, see no virtues in filling the day with car rides, plane rides, mobile phones, computer communications.
If you deal in real things, those things have a pace of their own that haste cannot impose upon. The garden I cultivate, the vegetables I grow, the wood I have to chop, the coal I have to fetch, the way I cook, (casseroles), the way I shop, (little and often), the time it takes to read a book, to listen to music, the time it takes to write a book, none of those things can happen in microwave moments. I am told that the values I hold and the way I live are anachronisms paid for by my privilege. It is a privilege to make books that people want to read but why would it be more appropriate, less anachronistic, for me to spend the money I earn on a flashy lifestyle instead of funding my own peace and quiet? (158–159)
My work is rooted in silence. It grows out of deep beds of contemplation, where words, which are living things, can form and re-form into new wholes. What is visible, the finished books, are underpinned by the fertility of uncounted hours. A writer has no use for the clock. A writer lives in an infinity of days, time without end, ploughed under.
It is sometimes necessary to be silent for months before the central image of a book can occur. I do not write every day, I read every day, think every day, work in the garden every day, and recognise in nature the same slow complicity. The same inevitability. The moment will arrive, always it does, it can be predicted but it cannot be demanded. I do not think of this as inspiration. I think of it as readiness. A writer lives in a constant state of readiness. For me, the fragments of the image I seek are stellar; they beguile me, as stars do, I seek to describe them, to interpret them, but I cannot possess them, they are too far away. At last and for no straightforward reason, but out of patience and searching, I find that what was remote is in my hands. Still uncut, unworked, but present. (169–170)
I am going to take some advice from this, to invite silence in, and pursue Nature’s Time in favour of clock time. To live by the slowness and rightness of the turning seasons, the sun and the moon, and my own internal seasons and cycles. To read and think every day, and to spend time outside, walking or just sitting in the garden, watching the birds and insects and newly emerged skinks, listening to the living, speaking Earth around me. Trying, as much as possible, to remain in a state of readiness, so that out of patience and searching, what I seek will at last arrive glimmering in my hands.