I’m not enjoying not writing. I am pining for Fred. Mr S is revising a screenplay where a writer’s fictional characters start to plague her in real life – they’re bored living in the novel when she’s not writing – and I’m haunted by visions of Mr Rivers and Kit and Elise stalking me. In fact they are stalking me. I might not be writing, but I can think of nothing but Fred.
Reading is good – I am munching my way through the towering stack of books on my desk and scribbling voracious notes as the route to the end becomes clear. I can feel Elise et al, hovering beside my elbow, or sitting on my shoulder, eager to return to Tyneford. While I am desperate to write, I also know that I’m not ready to carry on. I needed to take breaks in between drafts of ‘Mr R’ in order to put myself in the way of serendipity. I discovered the small blue pamphlet which Jack turns into his list on a research trip in the British Library somewhere between drafts three and four. There was an eureka moment with a coronation chicken sandwich (it’ll make sense when you read Mr R, I promise) and another when my mum found a picture of my grandmother’s famous golf swing.
So for now, I must try to ignore Fred calling me and the grumblings of Alice and Poppy, and turn back to James Lees-Milne and the The Countryman’s Diary 1939. But, if you see a girl tramping across the Dorset fields with a string of odd looking characters traipsing after her, feel free to wave.