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Friday 19th December 2003


Just had a meeting of my writing group for tired and lovely academics. We were writing in slow motion about eating mince pies, unwrapping presents, peeling potatoes, writing Xmas cards etc. I love this kind of writing…it’s so interesting to listen to, even though it feels banale to write. It’s also my best remedy for being stuck…just take a character and write about them doing anything in very tiny detail…like getting dressed, eating cake, catching a bus. The story is all there in the tiny little bits.

I keep thinking what a brilliant year it has been…I never expected to feel this healthy for so long and to enjoy myself so much. I have really loved writing this year…maybe because it’s all got so much simpler since I have had a room in the English School, and had financial support from Northern Rock…or perhaps it’s just getting older and knowing what I like.

I just got a copy of the new cover for Crocodile Soup from Penguin. I really like it…as if it’s got anew outfit. It’s completely different in atmosphere to the first cover and looks really new and interesting. I might even read it again myself! The new book has a title now, and I hope to finish it by mid January. The title is ‘The Cure For Dying’ and I was given it by the author Bridget O’Connor (who also thought up the title for Crocodile Soup.)

I’ve been to York since I last wrote this web log. I had to talk about life and work in a basement bar. I always think that most people in the audience have probably had much more interesting lives than me, but still, they all listened patiently to me waffling on. York was the last of a series of talks and readings. I feel rather proud of getting to all those events and not collapsing! Next year it will be all Red Spot Babies and I shall start thinking about another novel.

I am about to go off for Christmas, staying in a holiday house with my family. I hope everyone who reads this has a good time, and that your mince pies are sweet. Let’s hope 2004 is a good year!