I've dived back into an old story, grabbing a few minutes to write when I can, and all the old difficulties come flooding back in: the doubts, the clumsiness, the idiotic repetitiveness, the repeating things, the lack of spark, blah blah blah. No different from any other first draft, in other words.
But no matter! The important thing isn't how it feels now -- since it always feels like crap -- but rather the very simple and primitive fact of work. I am a writer; I write.
Meanwhile fall has turned the corner into winter, and I walked the dogs this morning under a clear sky jewelled with stars, and the frosted grass glittered in counterpoint. I was happy at the beauty, huddled into my warm clothes. The dogs peed, unimpressed and ready to return to their sleepy nests on the couch.
And the best part is that the cold and dark of this morning hangs in my head like a picture now, while the story I'm working in hangs there too ... and I find myself trying to work in a scene that takes place on a cold morning under the stars.