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Monday 23rd September


Since I last wrote this diary we’ve had the Shorelines launch which was great. Cate’s glass looked beautiful, and I have fallen in love with sticky vinyl lettering. I’m about to spend a wek away in a castle with two other novelists writing the Taxi Driver’s Daughter. I feel I can only really concentrate when I go away from everything. I love my home, but it’s full of teenagers, and although I have a writing room, there are so many other writing jobs to do. However, going on a retreat gives you a real boost, and when I come back it’s easier to continue working on a big project because my head will be full of it.

Yesterday I went to the launch of a new book called Leftboobless, by a woman called Sylvia Mitchell, who decided to write about her experience of having breast cancer, and to include lots of writing exercises that helped her. Sylvia is a very positive woman who had organised the whole thing brilliantly. It was the best raffle prizes I’ve ever seen, although typically I didn’t win anything. Andrea Badenoch and I ‘launched’ the book for Sylvia, and we talked about how writing had helped us get through breast cancer. Frankly I couldn’t have survived without writing, or at least having some creative way of expressing myself. The launch was wonderful..packed with people..but it made me angry with breast cancer. You can have a very positive attitude and learn alot from cancer, but it’s still a pain in the arse and something I could have done without. If anyone is interested in Sylvia’s book email me and I’ll tell you how to get a copy. It would be a good gift for anyone who was recently diagnosed.