Friday, February 09, 2007

At 3am in the night, I am getting ready to print a draft of the chapter I've been working on for the last month. I plug in the printer, and switch it on. Suddenly I am flooded by the pale ghostly light of my computer screen.A few seconds pass before I realize that the rest of the room is covered with darkness. The moment I've been dreading has come. I have no power.

Good time to go to bed, then. I light a candle; boil some water for my hot-water-bottle. It's going to be a cold night, tomorrow will be snow.

As always with writing towards deadlines, it takes me time to slow down. But tonight the usual buzz like feeling of words running through my veins is replaced with fear. What if there is a serious problem? My lights, my heating, my computer, my music, they all depend on a precarious source, of which I have almost no control. What happens if it can't be fixed? I try to imagine how I would live there without electricity. I've done it before, I think, in Vauxhall, and it was so easy, remember, it was magical. But that was in spring, not winter; and I had gas heating, and more windows.

Life without electricity: oil lamps and candles, portable gas heaters and stove.. it can be done. But no computer, no internet, no music. When this house was built they had no electricity. What did they use? lanterns and coal stoves?

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