London had changed, of course, and yet it was exactly the same. There are many new structures on the skyline since 1987, and no-one actually uses the lumpy red phone booths anymore. But the energy is the same, and what I get out of it certainly translates well from my twenties to my fifties.
I left London a university student with a vague notion of being a writer someday. And while I’ve worked in and around writing and publishing ever since then, I know that what I do for a living today is something I could not possibly have predicted back in 1987. I simply didn’t know such a career existed, and if I’d learned about it at the time I wouldn’t have wanted it.
To step out of the tube, back onto London’s packed sidewalks, not as a tourist but as Chair of the International Authors Forum on my way to run a meeting a few blocks from St. Paul’s? Unreal. To be so busy crisscrossing the city from meeting to meeting to book fair that I barely had time to pause and look with wonder at it all? A surprisingly comforting feeling. London had been home, and a place where I was busy. I’m gratified it did not return to me as a vacation spot. It’s still a place where I’m busy. I need that.