CHASE Creative Writing Residency 2019: Day 1

I wake from a long sleep; have strawberries for breakfast; find a table by a window in a quiet spot; watch the rain fall and fall, the puddles widen, the birds shelter in the ivy. A foggy start, my brain reluctant to co-operate. I try coffee. I try chocolate cake. I don’t let myself crawl back into bed. Coloured pens. Post it notes. Circles and lines. I force my thinking into shapes. Consider verbs. Consider process. Don’t get too far away from the fiction. And it works, for now, enough of a structure to start at least. Four o’clock I close my eyes, recharge. We gather in the lounge, held by three grey sofas. I am the first to be read. It is new work, so new I’ve almost forgotten what it’s about, but their attention brings it back to me, offers new routes to follow, reminds me why I care. I run across the rain-drenched drive to swim warm lengths in soft water. There are candles at dinner, salmon, asparagus, potatoes cooked the Greek way, then sweet baklava and tea. It already feels as though we live here.

Sarah Butler