“I’m dry. I’m empty,” has been my response recently when people have asked me if I am currently writing a book. You see, you have to have a book ‘in you’, and writing it is ‘letting it out’. And since my last book was published back in 2018, I’ve been empty.
Which has been providential (mustn’t say lucky, mustn’t say fortunate, and not sure about fortuitous), because I’ve been a busy chap. Almost too busy, at times. A few Christmas dinners to speak at towards the end of 2019, and all in the West Country or Wales, and too spaced to cover in one trip, and conferences in Devon and Surrey.
And then a holiday, which was great fun, but left us even more tired. Being driven around India for over a week in a rather old SEAT, with a charming driver who spoke little more English than we spoke Hindi. But we saw tigers in the wild, and amazing buildings. I also survived two cobras round my neck, and lamented that curries were not spicy enough.
We needed a break, but felt it was impossible. Then heaven opened, and we had a divine sabbatical. Three months of walking Norfolk under a blue sky (usually), and then more of the same.
And hey, guess what – I found a book inside of me. So I have been tapping into my iPad and iPhone and MacBook and iMac (all synchronised) and now have a manuscript. I will edit it for as long as I keep looking at it. Mark Twain once said that during a morning, he simply removed a comma. That was editing. In the afternoon, he put it back again. That was further editing.
“Is it religious?” some people ask. Religious – not really a word I choose to use much, except when it helps others to understand. Anyway, No is the answer. It is memories and tales of Norfolk, with a fair dash of Barrie humour, and looking back over the 76+ years since I was born in this county.
I think I’ll finish it one day. I think it will get published. I hope Jarrolds (large department store in Norwich) will stock it, because they stocked my previous six.
And by the way, Jesus does stroll across the pages just a little. Like, how he changed my life for ever. Just a few paragraphs. Quite a lot of the rest is rather funny. I think so. And whimsical anecdotes of a Norfolk lad discovering what is Normal for Norfolk. NfN, as the medics used to write on some patients’ records.
Now, back to that manuscript before life returns to normal.