Grandad, the little one asks, what happens to all those letters you get?
She is referring, of course, to the sacks of mail emptied daily onto the Etruscan marble top of the table in the main hall that once belonged to Pious IX (the hall that is, not the table, which was ex Francesco Medici via contacts in Argentina best not mentioned further here).
Why little one, Grandad reads them all, then they are kept in those books over there. Points vaguely to the east wall of the library, where countless books bound in Cardinal red kid hold the correspondence generated by my work, meticulously indexed in 12-point Sushing Immacula printed on hand-scuted 250gm paper. Pick any volume at random, open it where you like, and the same sort of drivel will be found- typically questions about the inspiration for my writings, usually from those in search of some inspiration of their own.
Take this one, from June 2015. Why, it asks, are there sometimes such large gaps between the entries in my blog? Is it because I am working for long periods in other media? Well, yes, I suppose that accounts for it partly. I have my other means of expression- film, music, theatre, opera, my bronzes, the sketches I send to Foster and Piano, the choreography, my old Leica L3, the wrapping of the Grand Canyon in cling film, programming Deep Blue- and so on, and they all, to some extent, eat into the time I have to enter the character of the bloggeur Peluxes. But I can't entirely dispel a suspicion that behind the question there is an assumption that posts such as these- golden nuggets of literary humour- can somehow be.... just made up. That they can be...dashed-off in a moment, and that if it weren't for other distractions my blog could be a near-continuous outpouring. One might as well ask why the seven-year gap between the Special and General Theories of Relativity? Was Einstein doing something else? Why the eight year gap between War and Peace and Anna Karenina? Did Tolstoy take up photography? Blog posts such as this are not simply...written. They are conceived, nurtured, refined, examined from every angle. The actual typing of them is like the birth of a child- a few short moments of painful effort after months of development.
It's as if people think that I come in from the pub, tell the lovely wife to put her feet up and I'll get her a cup of tea, then type the first old nonsense that comes into my head while the kettle boils. How do people get these ideas?
Shouted from a distance: Where's that tea? I'm dying of thirst here.
Self: Sorry sweetest, just coming.