Thinking Spaces

London, Reading & Writing


Writing is the only job in the world which largely consists of staring into space with your mouth hanging open. Often, when I’m stuck on a novel, I go mooching around the city to fire up my ideas. When it comes to having spaces in which to think, the French have their boulevardiers, the Spanish can sit in their ramblas, the Italians never shut up long enough to think, and we mooch about in bookshops, pubs and the quiet streets of the city.

Mooching last night was a necessity as I had managed to arrive half an hour early for an appointment. My stroll took me past the Guildhall, another London space that consists of way too much sterile empty brick, through the back alleys of Fleet Street (almost impassable with office drinkers emptying their tension by draining beerglasses) although a few, like this one, were quiet.

Finally I ended up in this curious courtyard, where I followed a string of lights behind Salisbury Court that finished in a circle set around a five-pointed star – what can it mean?

I found myself standing outside the Punch Tavern, which is appropriate, for yesterday was the paperback publication day for ‘The Memory Of Blood’, which features Mr Punch.

I’ll be signing stock around town this weekend, and leaving a few books in surprising places as little gifts, so keep your eyes peeled. While I’m walking, I also hope that I’ll think my way through the knotty problem of a novel, and come back refreshed.

8 comments on “Thinking Spaces”

  1. Mary says:

    I imagine that walking and pondering, is like leaving a crossword and coming back to it? Beautiful photos. Thanks.

  2. Dan Terrell says:

    I am always impressed at how often when reading about an author, a composer, a painter, a scientist or other creative individual, you learn the person took daily, or frequent, walks. Out and about in the city, or the hills, or countryside with dog, child, wife or good friend to work the toxic build-up out, refresh the mind, air out the lungs, and most definately shift the fluids built up in the legs. I would think the famous, and prayed for, Eureka moment frequently comes in the hours after a ramble. the decompression walk, indeed.
    Bryant and May frequently air themselves out by walking out on that bridge and watching the water flow by, the sky change colours and being together.
    Ramble on, Admin, we enjoy the wood and picture results. And that star inserted into the pavement with the path and ring lights – there has to be a short story hidden in plain sight, even a novel. Is it a reminder of a lost child, love or the first clue in a trail leading to… Dan Brown’s next doorstop?

  3. Dan Terrell says:

    Oh rats!
    Missed a capital “T” up there and typed “wood” for “word.”
    Wife kindly refreshed my coffee mug and I thanked her, all the while my fingers continued their tap-tap-taping.

  4. Libby Toews says:

    My grandfather worked in the Guildhall in the twenties to the forties and was housed in the apartments above the Mayors Court.
    All through the Blitz the family stayed with my Grandmother , a Parkinson’s sufferer, in the flat. She actually shoved an incendiary bomb through the floor of her home to the marble floor below in the court. My fathers family also lived in the City in the Nat. Pro. bank at Princes St. My dad had all sorts of adventures in there. There was a Mithraic tomb under the bank, which delayed the building, but I still have a piece of Roman pottery given to my grandparents. London is stranger than Fiction.

  5. Gretta says:

    Aren’t pentangles witch-y things? Maggie Armitage would know what that Salisbury Court malarkey’s about, if that’s the case.

  6. Helen Martin says:

    Libby, that was fascinating. A Mithraic tomb! How many people can say they have one of those under their house? Your Grandmother may have suffered from Parkinson’s but there was certainly nothing wrong with her mind.
    Pentangles are definitely witchy things and I have a feeling we’ve seen this one before. It is so not a professional engraving and it’s been inserted into the paving pattern. It’s the lights that baffle me since they’re mounted somewhere above, but where and why? Bet a book is being left in this square.

  7. Dan Terrell says:

    Terry has the best witches, ever.

  8. Helen Martin says:

    Hardly needs to be said, Dan.

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