All quiet?

The bells are chiming, but not to mark the hour. Just clanging along – a merry tune. It’s almost Christmas, and Waterstones is busier than usual. I’m enjoying the flurry of people today, rustling past laden heavy with paper bags filled with wrapped gifts and the unknown. A man came by with his son. The father was carting a basket full of books, and as he looked around he mentioned the words: “early Christmas present” and “I don’t know anyone else who is like me other than you, I bet you could spend hours in here couldn’t you.” I glanced over and shook my head. Pretty much everyone I see comfortably seated with a book or newspaper inches from their noses have been here for at least an hour. Welcome to the clan of book lovers and knowledge seekers.

It’s getting cold here and my toes are stiffening up, which is odd considering normally Waterstones has the heating on full blast. The stack that rests by my feet today includes five children’s books, a shadow book, a cookbook and several gifts I’d rather not describe! Surprises, surprises, you see…

Yesterday the Russian ambassador in Turkey was shot and killed. I am seated next to a table titled “All quiet on the eastern front?” where a man with small tufts of white and grey by his ears, and a very tightly wound blue scarf stands, glancing from title to title. He let out a small chuckle. His hands are crisscrossed with blue veins as he leafs through a book with an orange spine.

Behind me is the German history section and the titles on the glass table in front of me range from The Spitfire pocket manual, to The Secret agents, to The Reaper (autobiography of one of the deadliest special ops snipers), so my mind wanders to the attack at the Christmas Market last night in Berlin, and to Angela Merkel, who said Germans would find the strength to live free and open lives, united.

With all this on my mind, no wonder I’m sitting on the fourth and trying to escape into my fantasy world. Writing is a challenge sometimes. Each time I (and maybe you too) hit a block, it feels almost insurmountable… until I just sit there and start writing, without thinking too much about it, letting words flow out and, with the help of some chocolate, forgetting all anxieties. Easier said than done, but it can be done. I keep having to remind myself of that. And just keep facing these pages!

Wish you all a wonderful holiday season and that you enjoy each and every festive day.

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