For me, as a Yorkshirewoman, there are many laugh out loud moments in Simon Armitage’s All Points North, and there are others that make me feel fond of the county I left at the age of 18. But the piece that stayed with me longest was the page on ‘Writing’.
Writing, he says, is “a form of disappearance. Burglars watching the house from outside for four or five hours would think it empty. There isn’t another human activity which combines stillness and silence with so much energy.”I know exactly what he means. I will be upstairs in my attic study, writing all day, my husband out, my only movement to make a cup of tea and scrounge a handful of fruit and nuts from the snack jar. When I come down at the end of the day, turning off the lights as an unconscious signal to myself not to go back upstairs and start working again, it is not uncommon to find ‘we tried to deliver but you were out’ postcards on the mat, or parcels piled up outside the front door. It’s not that our doorbell isn’t up to the job, simply that when you’re in the zone that’s where you are.
‘All Points North’ by Simon Armitage