I’m back in Norway again. I am happy. Yesterday I watched my world sliding past the train windows. The train journey from Leeds to Manchester is very beautiful. It crosses the Penines. Soft green-grey and amber mountain peaks, interspersed with grey stone villages. More like hills really than mountains. But they are lovely. I sat there on the train and all these words came bubbling up inside me. It was being in an inbetween space. It was having time to think, which I haven’t, for weeks, because every waking moment I’ve been thinking or writing or reading about Randolph Stow, or sorting out a pressing matter that was preventing me from doing so. It was nice, to sit on the train, and read an entirely unrelated novel, and look out the window.
The words bubbled up so insistently that I thought I would write them down. Just as I got my computer out the man with the drinks trolley came past. As he dragged it behind him he was talking to it like it was a dog: ‘Come on girl, good girl, sit!’ He explained he’d been working since three in the morning. I wrote a couple of sentences. Suddenly all the noises of the train seemed oppressive: the dull hum of ipods, people coughing. I closed the computer, and it was okay again. The words liked it better when no one could see them, or even imagine they were there. The other people were too close – when I tried to write the words down, there wasn’t room for them to sing.
I am writing some of the words down now. Some are secret. Some of them are lost. They knew that might happen. They didn’t mind. I could almost see them – transparent, fuzzy at the edges, rising upwards like flames. My own words, mine.