The discreet charm of tatty sleeves


GD’s discussion of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite on the Writers’ Co-op got me thinking, in a roundabout sort of way, about naked torsos. Actually, his post isn’t about the whole meteorite, just a bit of it he uses as a writing charm. He has several other charms, which help him, he says, ‘to feel a connection with the story and to imagine details’.

Oh dear, I thought. I haven’t got one. In fact, since returning from Mayotte, we’ve embarked on the Great Declutter, and no mercy is shown to the myriad bits of bric à brac dotted around the house that might conceivably serve as one. Will my story, then, be devoid of enriching details? But then it struck me: I don’t need one – I’ve got my pullover!

A lot of clothes have gone in the declutter, but the writing pullover remains. When I slip it on, I enter a personal zone where I can concentrate. It’s tatty and frayed and has gaping holes at the elbows, and though I could never, by the wildest stretch of imagination, be called a snappy dresser, even I draw the line at wearing this rag in public. But that’s precisely why it works: the very privateness of it is what takes me into that space of my own where I write.

Coming back home, I was very pleased to rediscover it. In Mayotte, of course, I didn’t have a pullover at all. In fact, most of the time, I didn’t wear a shirt either. Which brings me naturally to the naked torsos. And since you really don’t want to be picturing mine, I provide another one for you.


This book cover, along with many others like it, can be bought for the modest sum of $60 at Swoon Worthy Book Covers. Now I dare say a lot of people would swoon at the sight of my torso, but for all the wrong reasons. So you’re never going to see it on this blog, let alone on a book cover. I do sometimes wonder, though, if covers like the one above actually sell books. Personally, I think he’d look better in my pullover. Or is that just me being jealous?