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Monday 29th September 2003


First I cut my foot on a shard of glass in a bed and breakfast in King’s Lynn. I was about to do a poetry reading, but the glass splinter was embedded in my sole, so I had to get the pale faced proprietress to help me, and she didn’t look very keen. But I got out the glass with her old darning needle and limped on to recite poems in a beautiful hall right next to the Great Ooze River, while a russian trawler did a three point turn. But still my foot throbs. Perhaps it is infected.

Then I was running a workshop in County Durham, and on the way there got crashed into by a young man from Spennymoor. I wasn’t driving…my friend Maggie was. The noise was incredible. Her car is a write off and our necks are very stiff. But luckily, we are unhurt. In the squealing moment before the crash I thought…how ironic, to die in a car crash after all that cancer treatment! But we are not at all dead, even though I felt my brain shoot forwards in my head, as if it had come loose from its stalks, and later felt a bit delirious. I still carried on with the course. I enjoyed it. It was only later that I felt a bit peculiar. I would probably carry on even if my leg dropped off. I have the most intense work ethic. I can’t bear to be late, or to be ill. This is a good and a bad thing. Good, because it makes me quite positive, and I don’t tend to lie around much. Bad, because it’s often stupid, and shows how much I live in my head, not my body.

The novel races on. I’m writing about Brazil now. Yet I am still deciding what it’s really about.