Saturday, 18 August 2007
The above photo was taken on Kiln Beach, Flushing last Friday on my younger brother’s birthday. We had a barbecue, the sun shone and you could almost believe it was summer.
My nephew decided he wanted to make his own fire on a couple of rocks, so this is Ben teaching him how to do it. I’m afraid they didn’t actually rub sticks together, but the fire stayed going for a while. Not bad for a nine year old.
This morning I lay in bed with a feeling of anticipation, of fluttery excitement. A new book is evolving inside me. I’ve got three characters, but they’re all shadowy, at the far end of a tunnel. Amorphous, indistinct. When I try and write them down, they melt away like shadows. But they’re there. I must wait until they come to me, which is the frustrating part. I can’t walk up to them and say, ‘who are you and what are you doing?’ because they will dart away as I approach, like timid animals. So until they gain confidence, I must kick around ideas, plot lines, reasons, doubts, insecurities. The beginning of another long journey that probably sounds crazy to those of you sane people not infected with this writing bug.
I’d thought that perhaps I couldn’t write another book. (I always think that.) I’d thought perhaps I should concentrate on journalism which is an easier way to try and earn money. (I didn’t say that journalism’s easy, because it certainly isn’t, but nothing is harder to earn money from than writing novels. Well, I can’t think of anything.)
But without a book in my life I feel as if something’s missing. I’ve lost my background, my definition, part of my soul. I can give my characters things that I would love. Children for one. And that makes me strong, makes me whole again. And, of course, there are the animals. I’d love lots, but I content myself with adopting fictional ones that become entirely real to me. In the last one were Hiccup and Pushkin (mad terrier and elderly moggy) who are more of my dearest friends. So the moral of this tale is, never underestimate the power of fiction, the pull of words.