I have picked up a project that has been on the backburner for a while, and as a result I am in a position to report that the Alex Brightsmith of six months ago – who it seems was far too busy to type up her notes – was an extraordinarily irritating person to transcribe for.
I wish I could say that her handwriting was her greatest fault. Though she writes a fair enough hand, when the ideas are coming slowly, it does tend to disintegrate somewhat when she’s rushed, excited, distracted, or going over that series of speed bumps outside the Smethwick Temple – which, sadly, covers the circumstances under which almost every word in this notepad was written – but I can mainly handle that. I’m used to it, after all, and even where I struggle (‘insert for dough nub’?!) I can usually work it out from context (insert for doughnuts – how could I have forgotten the doughnut scene?). It’s her tendency to go back to expand on an idea in whatever space is available, rather than starting sensibly on a fresh page, that drives me nuts. I mean, look at this:
Those last two words? ‘Than them’, I think, and from context the word that’s been written around the corner must be ‘amused’, but let’s just draw a veil over ‘waryer’.
The there’s her notes for future reference. ‘… towards Henlow [check]’. Check what, you aggravating woman? That Henlow is, in fact, on the A6? Its size? The status of its airbase? The name of its chip shop? (Damn. I only mentioned the chip shop facetiously, but now that’s going to annoy me … The Cod Father, possibly?) Even worse, the tendency, just when a scene is flowing well, a scene that I don’t remember writing and that I’m really enjoying, for the narrative to end abruptly with ‘but could she? How? Why would she think she could get away with that?’, followed by a half page of barely legible brain storming, or sometimes just an editorial comment, like this:
At least, I assume that’s an editorial comment, but frankly, your guess is as good as mine.