I’m away from home this week in the Channel Islands, and have deliberately left all my work behind. I’m calling it ‘thinking time’; in reality it’s indulging in an excess of food, drink, sleep and Alderney wildlife. It is useful, though, to put time and distance between yourself and your writing from time to time, and I’ve found all sorts of ideas and connections slipping into my lazy brain about the book I’m currently writing.
The book’s about the stigma of illegitimacy, and the other day I suddenly had this image of an adopted child (so many illegitimate babies were adopted) being grafted on to someone else’s family tree like mistletoe. Then, visualising a family tree, I imagined an illegitimate person’s being redacted, full of heavily obscured & indecipherable names and events. And I still find myself – perhaps naively – astonished at the power of secrecy and denial in people’s lives. That preys on my mind more than anything else at the moment.
The best thing about a holiday like this is that at the end of it, I’m raring to get back to work, fuelled by these new ideas, or the almost involuntary re-working of old ones. But first: another slice of Gache, I think (it’s a local sort of rich fruit bread) with a generous smear of Alderney butter and some honey from Alderney bees.