The book is not in love with me.

I shower it with love and promises of more stationery, but all it does is snarl. It will not be tamed. It says: ‘I do not even know you.’

I coax it with paperclips, with coffee. I fondle it in the dawn.

All it does is spit at me.

I pretend not to care. I spend a week reading the books of others. I tell it I have handed in my notice. I sneak up on it, under cover of darkness, hoping I can ambush it.

But the book is waiting. It sees me coming. The book dons a clown suit, then runs around in the garden naked blowing bubbles.

The book is a child, the book is a monster, the book is a dangerous dog.

It does not want to be, can never be known.

‘When did you know me, when did you care for me, who are you to even think about caring for me?’

I throw the book in the bin. I forget about it for three years. I write another book instead.

But the book is still there, gnawing at me in the darkness, jolting me awake in the dawn.

One day it comes to me. If you began this way… and maybe finished here, not here… It would mean cutting here… (and this, your favourite part)…of course. It says: ‘But you knew this all along.’

Now I hate the book. I throw it away. It disappears in the lorry.

I begin writing it out the next day, from memory.

Neither of us speaks.