She felt panic. She had with some pain cleared this small space and time to think in and now thought seemed impossible. She remembered from what now seemed the astonishing free and spacious days of her education the phenomenon of the first day's work on a task. One had to peel one's mind from its run of preoccupations: coffee to buy, am I in love, the yellow dress needs cleaning, Tim is unhappy, what is wrong with Marcus, how shall I live my life? It took time before the task in hand seemed possible, and more still before it became imperative and obsessive. There had to be a time before thought, a woolgathering time when nothing happened, a time of yawning, of wandering eyes and feet, of reluctance to do what would finally become delightful and energetic.
A.S. Byatt, Still Life.