Monday, 9 July 2012

All my Notebooks

Yesterday I packaged up all my journals and notebooks. I'd found a plastic box (on castors!) big enough, so out came the boxes from under the bed and on top of cupboards, and I piled them all in. There was exactly enough space for them all. (Though there are still a number of finished books from recent years, I'm still kind of using.) This boxload has about twenty years' worth of notebooks in - and they contain all sorts of stuff. Mostly observational writing and bits of diary; and scribbles and drawings, and sometimes whole chunks of novels or stories in first draft.

That yellowy / peachy one with the spiral binding near the top - that's from summer of 2000, and it's got the final few chapters of 'All the Rage', written in feverish red pencil. It's also got snippets from a very dramatic summer in Norwich...

I might dip into these now and then and give you some bits of conversations and scenes I've written down...

July 2000
A group of people I saw on the platform at Ely station yesterday. The grandmother, her daughter, and a girl and boy, both under seven. They were waving off the other daughter and her two young kids. All of them had the same face - with the same lines underneath their eyes. They were all crying. The four kids were made to part. 

'I won't leave it nine years this time.' One of the daughters was going back to Scotland with her kids. She was in a black T shirt with faded lettering. She said, 'We'll see you in the next Millennium, then.' Then, as if she thought she'd been too flippant, she added, 'I'll beg, steal or borrow the money to come down again.'

Everyone on the platform was watching and listening to her standing at the train door. Then there was the comedy of the train lingering a moment or two too long at the platform. So, having had the dramatic moment, they had to wait. Then the doors started closing at last. 'That's us then.'

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