This is my daughter Issy. Isabel. It was taken five years ago when I took the family to Arapawa Island for research for The Blue. That's the mouth of Tory Channel behind her. She and her brothers loved the rope swing, the way it flung them out towards the steep drop to the water and brought them safely back.
Issy's been very unwell lately - stopped unexpectedly over the steep drop and struggling to get back - so I haven't thought of blogging this past week. There was nothing in me to write about. I needed energy and optimism. And then my computer started doing strange things and I couldn't use the internet, so there was no blog-watching either.
Nothing for it but to spend the spare moments, when Issy didn't need me, on marking the last of those creative writing papers, polishing up that manuscript assessment and sorting out the boxes of writing notebooks I've collected. I forgot I had so many (all those fragments of thoughts and observations - what to do with them?)
I also started reading to Issy again: Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book which I blogged on here. It's terrific so far. The sort of thrill I got from the beginning of Great Expectations, and the Leon Garfield books I read as a teenager.
The Blue has provided some entertainment on National Radio every morning. An odd experience, but I'm warming to it. I found the way the finished, crafted work (the novel) had been cut to create a new work difficult at first. Things are juxtaposed differently, events left out, the fine balance I tried to achieve between action and thought in a character, changed. But of course it had to be done, and some of the changes are felicitous.
The actors' voices take the text away now, and it's as if I'm looking at the story from the outside and can appreciate it anew. I even cried at one point! It's actually a fine adaptation by Frances Edmond, directed by Jane Waddell, and it moves me to think of people sitting at home and in their cars, and listening to it.
And Issy's getting better, although she is a little fragile.
I wish we had a swing in our garden like we used to - it was nothing like the Arapawa Island rope swing - but it did the job.
Late News: I have just realised this is my 101st post on O Audacious Book. Goodness, so many. Thank you to all my regular visitors and those who just fall here out of the sky - the man from Portugal who commented on this post for one.