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I haven't had a holiday in a year. We finally plan a week away and on Day One two things happen: first, we have a fairly hair-raising trip in a small aeroplane; second, I spend a high proportion of the time planning how to work the experience into a novel - not just in terms of the specific words I might employ, but also in mentally debating the depth of reader skepticism.

Example: The luggage hit the roof of the plane. Really? Yes, really.

A plastic ice cream container is not the ideal receptacle for vomit, at least, not unless you get the lid on really fast. And off again, same speed. And on again, and... you get the idea. (Which beats the reality).

In certain circumstances it's really not a big deal to be suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly covered in someone else's vomit. Who'd have thought it? (Maybe it helps if you're related.)

But a shower and a good night's sleep later, what's really interesting is that a writer is never on holiday. Battered (and spattered) by clear air turbulence, I was writing. In my head, sure, and maybe I'll never find a place to use that material, but I was, nonetheless, busily capturing it in words.

Maybe it's a coping mechanism. Maybe it's a compulsion. Maybe writers don't ever get to have holidays because you never get to leave the writing behind.

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