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.