I remember vividly my first attempts to corral scraps of words into a longer form piece.
It was over 15 years ago, in a north London cafe which managed to be both aggressively overlit and irremediably gloomy.
The words in front of me had emerged in little spurts, unbidden, like a sneeze in hayfever season. They seemed to arise from the act of walking in the morning, jogged and shaken into shape ready to be expelled. Rarely more than half a page at a time.
I would try to hold them in my head through to day, along with the wonderful feverish urgent itch, until free to let them out. Scratches on the page. A rattle of keys in a coffee bar on the way to the station.
It was a fever. Every cell would be infected with words, strings of words, multiplying in my head.
At least once that I recall I stopped, turned around, called in sick, to get the fit done and dusted while it was raging in me.
It was like being in love.