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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Under the weather

March 9th., Royal York Hotel, Brighton

I am in the middle of writing the second part of "Clayhanger" and want to get it finished by next week, but it does not seem likely. I am plagued by neuralgia, particularly in the gums, and it is hard to concentrate on my work. I wrote 1,200 words yesterday but then felt not well enough to continue, or at least not to continue to the high standard I have set myself. So I walked to Rottingdean and back along the cliffs. The sight of sea and downs did me a sort of vague spiritual good. 2,300 words today which is pleasing. I wonder if it is possible to look back through one's writing and discern the parts that were written in good health from those written when ill? It should be because I have no doubt that physical well-being is causally linked to mood and therefore to the creative process. Perhaps I write better when I am feeling rotten? I doubt that I shall have the leisure in the foreseeable future, if ever, to undertake the research.

In Brighton, man bearing a card: "Blind through boy throwing mortar. Discharged by hospitals. Incurable." He had evidently been a street beggar for a long time. He had the continual stamping movement of such beggars. What a tragedy! It wouldn't bear much thinking about. One might think that, as a novelist, one might be able to imaginatively inhabit the world of such a person, but I can't. I don't think it is possible at all to write successfully outside one's own experience. Of course one can place characters in all sorts of imaginary situations, but they remain characters one knows and understands, and they behave as such.

Well, I see from the above that my mood has become rather depressed. This in spite of the fact of being resident in a luxurious hotel, having freedom to regulate my own hours, having the comforts of a wife on hand, and having every prospect of future success. Such is the unpredictable nature of the human spirit. We shall be leaving this place in a week or so and I intend to complete my novel in Florence which will certainly be warmer than here and may afford me a sufficient change of scene to perk me up. I hope so!

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