Just the oddest thing happened to me yesterday. I felt as though I’d been sorting out my clothes and discovered that Narnia really does begin at the back of the wardrobe.
Cast your mind back to my previous blog post, in which I said that I had just finished writing a very difficult passage of human interaction.
For the purposes of this blog post let’s call the characters involved in this Hugh and Eleanor, otherwise I won’t be able to blog this until 4 more books have been published and I want to tell you now, not in 2 years’ time. And that’s strange enough by itself – giving fictional characters aliases to allow them to appear disguised in the real world!!
Well, Hugh and Eleanor have become very dear to me. I believe this happens quite a lot with writers of fiction; the characters appear out of nowhere and seem to start telling their stories themselves. All I have to do is take time out to really look and listen and concentrate, and their story kind of unfolds before the imagination, leaving only the task of actually writing it down. In so doing, I come to love them dearly; they become as real to me as members of my family. In fact, between writing novels, meeting people online and stranger-watching in the place where I live, what reality is becomes quite hard to define!
So Hugh and Eleanor fall in love, and through much adversity finally get to be together, only to find that in the daily domestic round living together is not as easy as they had expected.
The humungous row I had to write was Hugh and Eleanor struggling with remarkable lack of success to communicate effectively with one another. But they do love each other dearly, and their path of love together forms a significant proportion of what the book I’m writing now is all about.
I finished wrestling with this difficult and demanding passage telling the tale of this couple in love on the evening of Valentine’s Day, and I read it to the Badger over the cusp of midnight into Valentine’s Day. So somehow his and my love, and our stories, got twined together with Hugh and Eleanor’s love, and their story. Their relationship is not a re-telling of, or even like, my relationship with the Badger, but it has certain ordinary human commonalities that he and I – and I hope all readers – can surely relate to.
So yesterday, Valentine’s Day, after the Badger and I had exchanged cards and a kiss, off he went to work and I went to check correspondence and opened my email.
I sat there stunned, rooted to the spot.
There, in my inbox, sat an email from Hugh and Eleanor, “With love on Valentine’s Day”.
How could this be? I was actually quite frightened to open it, in case some weird hacker had somehow got into my life and knew what I had been writing!
Well, I did open it eventually, and it was a book promo from a writer whose work I have purchased in the past, whose first name happens to be Hugh, and who has formed a professional alliance with his wife, whose first name happens to be Eleanor, and they are marketing their work as a joint enterprise, using Valentine’s Day as a platform for their promotion.
But, cor! What a weirdness in a world of weird! I shall keep that email. And I’m glad to know Hugh and Eleanor are watching me as closely as I am watching them!!