Into the hospital for a swift barium enema this morning. "You can't be from Sandy," the radiologist said, having asked where I had come from (I moved to that town recently). Apparently there is a Sandy type of person which I don't fit. I suppose I've got so used to not fitting over the years I've ceased to notice. I act as a witness instead of expecting to take part. Is this a writer's thing? My mother tells how she would wake when I was very little and find me standing beside the bed, staring at her. When she woke I would simply turn around and leave the room.

This has been part of the critical reaction to my writing - people have felt I have kept myself back somehow. Even with my writing entering a more autobiographical zone people have looked for more sense of 'me'. That's better I suppose than an editor at St Martin's a while back who rejected a book of mine with the line that reading it brought her an intense dislike of its author.

In life you seek out the people that like you and tend to avoid the others. My books are less discriminating. I don't doubt some real sense of my personality squeezes into their pages. As a result I come across as objectionable to some and laudable to others. Some readers loathe me and others regard me with affection. All reactions are personal and therefore acceptable. Nothing much has changed since standing by my mother's bed, and nothing changed by coming to Sandy. I don't really expect to belong. I live and witness, hone my skills and report back.

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