climbers: the journal
The notes on which I based Climbers were taken in situ in a series of cheap notebooks with puppies and flowers on the front, often given to me as presents by family members. I began gathering material in 1979. By 1983, this collection had become a rat’s nest, so I took to transferring each worked-up note–by then often a finished, polished scene–into a sort of journal, which also contained some commentary, structural ideas, lists of names and so on, along with polaroids, postcards, news clippings and other material. These notes, the earliest of which is dated 1st January 1983 and the latest 2nd November 1988, were transcribed in obsessively neat handwriting using a strict rota of coloured pens. Though I lost the original notebooks, I still have the journal. It stood in a complex relationship with, and served as a feeder for, the actual writing of Climbers, which went on concurrently elsewhere; also as a record of one of happiest and most productive times of my life. The pages were carefully numbered. The photographs, especially polaroids, have become faint and dark-looking at the same time, tinged with purples and greens not present in the lived scene.p101, 5.2.84, the earliest working synopsis.p116/7, 4.4.84, Tissington Spiresp191/2, 10.3.85, mentions a 35mm photo, long gone, of a child’s shoes “dumped at the edge of the road under Craig y Forwin.”197/8, 17.9.85: the photo is of the author, on “Toy”, Curbar Edge, a month later.
The new edition of Climbers, introduced by Robert Macfarlane, can be pre-ordered now from Amazon UK, in ebook and paper; or bought at a bookshop from May 10th.