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Posted by janehaynes in : Uncategorized, Writing a book , trackback

My first blog entry is being written on a TGV from Avignon to St Pancras, which is bringing me back to London and to work. Except, it’s hard to call something you feel so passionate about ‘work’ but it is and of an intense kind, else I should be full of misgivings about returning to the city. Except, ever since the July 2005 terrorist attacks I’ve realized how much I love London, and how I dread more harm to her. I was in the centre of the city when it happened and heard the serial explosions. In fact I was so close to King’s Cross that I could not get home except by walking and for hours there was too much dread in the air to do that. Now there is a delay in getting my blog online because my web designer, Darius is Iranian and his impromptu website has become a principal organ for communicating samizdat information across terror stricken Iran and this blog is not high on his priorities. It happens that I have young patients who have recently come here from Iran to conduct research who reminded me - before the violence began - that behind many of the foreboding and closed forecourt doors, men and beautiful bare-shouldered women still dance, swirl, drink and abandon themselves to the elegance of their glorious and sensual Esfahan, which means ‘half the world’s ancestry.’

I’ve decided to accompany the travails of writing my new book with an attempt to blog its journey from conception to publication. Travelling towards Lille we are already delayed and will probably miss our Eurostar connection. (I like the name, Eurostar and begin to wonder what the person is like that created it.) French Rail’s efficiency is no longer what it used to be and it is becoming more like South Eastern Network, by the week, which must be a sure sign of France’s self predicted social decline. Her inhabitants now seem to do very little else than moan about their services, and are in crisis at the thought of any changes to their health provision.  On the way out our TGV was without any refreshments, due its manager said morosely, ‘To a lack of takers’. Everybody is moaning about EDF, so why have they now become my London electricity supplier, I wonder.

It’s a blazing day and Avignon’s TGV station was hot, 40 C and without air conditioning, or any distractions and our train so delayed that I thought I’d get a panic attack, or perhaps I mean that I thought I’d overheat, and there was nowhere to escape to.  Scary, when only yesterday morning we woke up in our hill village to what felt like a Siberian chill. Next time, I find myself muttering, it will have to be the car. I even begin to think of Victoria’s drafts and plurality of grubby alternative distractions with affection

Last time I went to our house in France – the autumn of 2008 – I decided to write a novel whose two central characters have haunted me since childhood. The blank page petrified but by the end of three weeks I had produced forty thousand words and