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  • I am sitting up in bed while Ruby, head on her favourite silky red cushion, is curled up next to me. She is having one of her dreams – she lets out something between a squeak and a bark (a bueak? a sark?) as twitches roll across her body and paws scramble on invisible earth. I imagine she’s chasing a squirrel in the park, pushing her way through bushes and leaping through tall grass before coming up against a tree and placing her paws on the trunk as she looks up at the branches where her quarry winks back at her. She's right there. Now. In the dream.

    Twelve or so years ago I was introduced to Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I go back to this book whenever I feel stalled. It reminds me of why I write and stops me obsessing over what I’m writing. I'm reading this now as I sit in bed, as Ruby's dream subsides and she lets out a long, soft sigh.

    I stop reading and look up and out of the window, across the roofs of the houses opposite and towards the other side of the valley. A dirt track runs up from the red brick housing estate near the main road, cuts diagonally across some open pasture and connects to a hamlet of old dark stone buildings and white-washed farm houses which sit below a ridge of black rock and in front of a cluster of tall trees.

    I feel a physical twang in my chest. That crumpling of the heart as you touch on something raw. A truth. What is it? The desire to run away? The dread of an over-populated life? The wish to walk in open pasture? I look away and continue reading. I’m not ready to go there. Yet.

    But it’s good to feel this twang. The first in ages. It is, for a millisecond, a connection. I am here. And that is what I need and that is why I am reading Writing Down the Bones again and that is why I write: to re-forge connections. To be here. Now.
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