Dear Di,

I want a knight just like the one in your photo. I would put him in the corner of my bibliotekette, and on cold mornings like today I would glance over and think of you, and I would remember what it’s like to sit and write in the heat of sunshine. I’d remember then the warmth of metal, and the monkey bars on a playground in Las Vegas so many years ago. I’d be reminded on how small and beautifully varied the world is – and how there is no such thing as the perfect place. But there are perfect moments.

I have yogaed, and walked Kiri around the block this morning. It’s still dark. Tapering for the half-marathon on Saturday, so no run. But the space heater is blowing on my ankles, the rosemary oil burning on the desk, and I keep to my rituals. They stitch me into the days.

You write about finding a tribe. Isn’t that what everyone says these days? All the gurus? “Find your tribe.” I have come to realise I’m just not a tribe kind of person. Or, perhaps, like you, my tribe is nothing more than a loose assemblage chosen from among the dead. Certainly there is D.L.D., to whom I still write after all these years. I believe I’ve talked about my necromancy before.

This year I stopped trying to do things accord to form.




How the days bump into each other in these dark months. I experience a touch of concern each morning when I try to grasp the day of the week, the day’s plans. Is this normal?

The asphalt safe when it glitters under the street lamps. And unpredictable when it is as black and matte as spilled ink. I strap the metal coils to my running shoes and try to trust their grip. I silently beg the dog not to pull as we head out of the driveway, where the plough has shoved fresh snow over frozen rain.

The grass is ice-stiffened from last week’s rain. And covered with snow. Walking on it, I sink – deliciously – with each step. A cellofane-covered mattress. Weirdly, sensually satisfying.

Again then: this touch of concern. Am I normal?

I laugh at the hare’s tracks that look like adolescent-obscene graffiti. And the dog buries his snout under them, winding himself up like one of those flipping toy puppies on display at a toy store in a mall oh-way-back-when, somewhere.

Yap. Yap. Yap.

How it all rises and falls in consciousness to take us by surprise: the weaving of time-traveling moments that make up our present.