July 1: the nuclear half-life of your personality

In my dream I was in Stockport library of the 1970s where I used to go as a child. There was an enormous six-foot high book and there was a photograph of me in black and white on the cover wearing a kind of Soviet uniform looking very upright. I flipped through the massive pages and there were other pictures of me there. I tried to read the text that accompanied them but it was somehow impossible to understand.

It was probably a dream that reconfigured a moment in the day when I had looked at books in a second-hand bookshop and for an instant imagined finding one of my books in there amongst the trove.

When I was younger I was annoyed not to be able to say to people honestly that my job was being a writer. Instead, I had to say I was doing other stuff, some of it glamorous to them though not to me. Working in the cinema was my most glamorous-sounding job, though actually the least glamorous job I have ever had. But over the years the desire to depict myself as such and such has diminished. Nowadays I like the little bullet of anonymity that I can expose in a conversation with strangers.  The pleasures of  anonymity get greater with age. When people get to know you they realise there is more complex stuff but, like the nuclear half- life of radioactive decay, the subterranean material emerges slowly.


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