Friday November 20th – Day 16


Walking across the Meads this morning, I was reminded of the scene HG Wells described in his 1898 novel, The War Of The Worlds. ‘Maxims have been absolutely useless against their armour; the field-guns have been disabled by them. Flying Hussars have been galloping into Chertsey. The Martians appear to be moving slowly towards Chertsey or Windsor. Great anxiety prevails in West Surrey…’ And standing in awe of the toga purple sunrise, it came to me that the tall electricity pylons bestriding the Thames resemble the gangly and lethal alien contraptions that so petrified the young man hiding in the school library. Was Wells’ crystal ball so polished and clear that he could foresee a time when vast metal behemoths stalked the countryside?

After yesterday’s comparatively easy accumulation of words, today was a bit of a struggle: it is often the way. Some days the ink flows and some days it issues like treacle from a faucet. It’s not simply writing fatigue; it’s also that I’m very wary of falling into the trap of enjoying myself too much and that at some stage I have to come to terms with the fact that the end is nigh. The temptation is to keep writing because you don’t want the process to end, but by indulging yourself, you fall prey to finding more, and more ridiculous, excuses with which to justify adding more words. The danger here is to overwrite and thereby muddy what was once a clean narrative. Beginning, middle and end, that’s how it goes. It’s a little like a fabulous party you don’t want to leave yet know you should. Go when it’s time; not before and not when it’s too late. The trick is to know when. After all, how many of us remember staying out so late we missed the last bus home? Unsurprisingly, I have no desire to reprise that long walk of shame.

Ciao. Until tomorrow.


  • Diary Day

Further Reading

What You Don't Know About Me

Constant Tides

The Wind between Two Worlds

The Truth in Fiction

Ontreto: A Novel of Lipari

Boarding House Reach

Mazzeri: Love and Death in Light and Shadow