What is stillness like when it is so great it cannot be grasped? When it has come gliding out of its own place and feels more oppressive than thunder?
It is only someone sailing out of the woods. Not so important, perhaps. Putting himself in order calmly and with strength.
The shining, tranquil river glides out with all its burdens. It comes as if from far away in the interior, and delivers its innermost secrets, on its way towards a distant ocean.
What accompanies it on the journey? Intense desires that have subsided. Nothing more.
Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street Series started life as a serial in 2004 in The Scotsman newspaper. There are ten books in this series, and they are an ongoing project for which McCall Smith, like Dickens before him, writes one thousand words a day. In 2005 Polygon Books began to publish these stories in book form. The Revolving Door of Life is the latest book from this series.
As readers who have read about the way we write know, our process is nothing if not spontaneous. Sometimes they find it hard to believe we do not have any idea how our characters will come out of the comedy we weave them into. But I have found a piece of evidence of our process and I publish it here just as it was written from one to the other in 2008.
This is about as much planning as we ever do.