ALL BEAUTY MUST DIE

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I'm coming towards the end of ANGELA, and I'm ready for her to die, in the nicest possible way.

ANGELA is the story of a lonely woman in her fifties who finds the only comfort she has ever known in the birds she keeps in her second bedroom, and who is haunted by dark forces and an evil influence. The book ought to be out before the end of the month, but then I said that in September. And October.

It's been harder to write than I anticipated. It's a dark story, full of pain and regret. Sometimes I felt like I was torturing this woman I had dreamed up, and felt a weird guilt, like I had written a weapon to beat her with. I could have written her a happy life, but I didn't. I wrote her a terrible one. Imaginary, of course, but it exists now, in its own way, in paper and ink. She suffered. She suffers. She always will. But I didn't write her just to do awful things to her on paper, I wrote her as a kind of tribute to female loneliness and to how shame can poison a family tree. And she's hardly the most likeable character ever scrawled on a page. She's short, in manner and stature, ugly by almost all standards, and she's cold, and she's violent, when she has to be. But, like all of us, she's the sum of her experience. It's not all her fault. A sequence of events took place that made her unlovable, and the same sequence of events could have made you or I the same. "There but for the grace of God go I" said somebody somewhere. Despite all this though I still feel affection for her, like an angry father might for an illegitimate child. I have hurt her, and I'm sorry, but there is love there, somewhere under the surface.