An entry from A Writer’s Diary by Toby Litt, published by Galley Beggar Press on 1 January 2023
Cocooning. Marbled endpapers enclose me – I am intended to be read on a table of oak, by sunlight falling through ash trees. From a room two rooms away, someone I love plays Schubert – the accompaniment, but no-one is singing. When it is dark, owls will report on one another like the Stasi. Herons find the lake, as their great-grandmothers did. No newts in the rainbarrel. (I was in parts of this past – I travelled blithely through 1978, as if it were 1938.) Put your ear closer to the collapse. I can hear the ants in the compost. A spider isn’t even patient as it repairs its web. The house martins in the eaves of the Cheshire Home have something to do with me. (Without shadows, no poetry; without mulch, no trees.) Although the ink is black, it features as torch beam. Human beings are mostly wrong. Crumbs of gathered pollen fall on me from the ivy, and I emerge boyish and cobwebbed. (A spider isn’t even an emblem of concern for death as it restrings its web.) There’s a reek of fox close to the lake wall. If you were patient enough, you’d see something beneath the surface. No word but susurrus for the reedbed whisperings. He knew something about him – germane to him – was being passed, stem to stem, in the twilight, on the Sunday evening.