Well, it’s not technically the end of the season – the forecast still has some really hot days ready for us up ahead – but today is ‘O’ Week at universities around the country so it is the end of the summer break. Students are about to be oriented and we are all coming blinking into the light.

It’s the time of year people ask that awkward question, ‘and what did you do over the summer?’

This is a difficult one for writers. Martin Amis describes writing thus: ‘It is a sort of sedentary, carpet slippers, self-inspecting, nose-picking, arse-scratching kind of job, just you in your study and there is absolutely no way round that.’

Martin Amis might be able to say this but it doesn’t feel quite the thing to throw into polite conversation.

So, how then to justify the months just gone? You just have to be creative about your answers I suppose.

Though, even telling the bald fact that you were sitting alone in a room is not the truth. Your characters are clamorous and hard to extricate yourself from.





Imagine what you could write if you were wearing slippers like this. The image comes from Travelers in the Middle East Archive (TIMEA); and was originally in Ebers, Georg. “Egypt: Descriptive, Historical, and Picturesque.” Volume 1. Cassell & Company, Limited: New York, 1878. p 058.




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