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‘An amazing stillness this morning. A sense of impending exhaustion in the air. There was one robin as I went for milk. Did you notice it?’

‘It’s hardly Katherine Mansfield,’ the book says. ‘I must have been asleep.’

‘That note of fragility. You catch it in April, too, just as the days start to believe that they’re lengthening, that sense of change, could be colder, could be warmer, and that there is nothing you can do about it.’

‘It sounds like you’re on a roll,’ the book says. ‘Have you been writing again?’

‘Depends what you mean by writing. But a line did plop into my head from nowhere the other day, yes. I’d been on the motorway for about eight hours, so you could say conditions were perfect. Which is more than I can say for my back.’

‘Anything I need to know about?’ the book says.

‘I’ll let you know. It’s only the back of an envelope thing. It probably isn’t. But who knows? You never know do you?’

‘Never know what?’

‘When it’s the start of something or not. A cycle. A spurt. A little run of words. It’s not much to ask for is it? That burst, that nudge, which tells us it’s not over yet, not yet…’

‘Sounds like I should leave you to it,’ the book says.

‘You can stay if you like, I’m just not sure I need you at the moment.’