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ScrapIt turns up in a book I hadn’t opened in some time. It slips out from between two pages, and flutters its way to the carpet before I can catch it.

It’s a scrap of squared paper, a leaf from some old notepad from my previous life, carrying an ugly yellow logo and covered in many-coloured scribbles.

First of all, written in blue ball-point pen, a snippet of dialogue between Kit Marlowe and Thomas Walsingham… Not entirely bad, after all. Walsingham is a little stuffy, and there are a few unnecessary bits, but Kit’s voice – the mocking, the wish to shock, and the slight wariness of the cobbler’s boy trying to gauge how far he can push with this well-born patron –  is there. Duly pruned, it could have its uses.

Then, lower down, and still in blue – though perhaps a different pen – a bit of description. Some hundred words, likely Marlowe-related again, if the tallow candle, rushes, and wainscoted walls are anything to go by.  And this one, I’m not sure I didn’t use already.

Cross-wise, in purple gel pen, a notion for a post. I don’t think I did anything with it – neither here nor on my Italian blog, but with some tweaking, I might yet. We’ll McNairWilsonsee.

With the same purple pen, in tiny capital letters, LIKE THIS ONE! – complete with exclamation mark and a little arrow pointing to the bit of dialogue. Er… yes. Exclamation mark and arrow. I blush.

Then in green, in a free corner, another idea for a post about literary names. If ever it appears here, you know where it came from.

And last, scrawled in pencil right on the edge, a mysterious “the Company”… And I mean truly and badly scrawled. I wonder: how did it happen? Was it jotted down in darkness? Against some unlikely surface? Where did this scrap of paper follow me? And why? Was it with the book? Was it in a handbag for some reason? And while we are there, just what is the Company? Book? Movie? Song?…

I don’t know, and I doubt I’ll ever find out, now – but never mind. I’m inordinately happy about finding this scraplet. While I mean to use some of what is written in it, I could have lived happily without – and yet, I loved coming across this small collection of scribbles, and ideas, and odds and ends. It was very much like opening an old drawer and see what it was that one kept, back then

Also, a nice reminder that it’s always wise (as well as very writerly) to keep paper&pen at hand, because one never knows what will crop up – and when – that needs to be written down or lost forever.