Wandering through the rain-soaked streets of Strasbourg recently, we passed a house where the playwright Goethe lived for a time…

…and I was reminded of a remark that he once made: wanted, a dog that neither barks nor bites, eats glass and shits diamonds.

Part of me wants that dog too, and wants it really badly (perhaps it’s the little fellow who featured in my earlier post), but the hard-working writer part of me knows that what is worth having doesn’t come easily, although on reflection perhaps drafting and redrafting and then – oh yes – having another go at it is the authorial equivalent of eating glass and that what you get in the end – dog or no dog – is a kind of hard-edged, glinting proseyour very own literary diamond.