Sometimes I feel as though there’s an invisible thread linking everything I write. It’s like one extremely long article reaching onwards and outwards to some wordy horizon. Seemingly disparate projects seem to piggy back each other quite naturally, and there are overlaps and connections where you wouldn’t necessarily expect them.
Work spills surprisingly over into life too, like it did recently when Deb and I made our annual pilgrimage to Amsterdam a few weeks ago. I’m not generally in the habit of visiting churches, but we had ten minutes to spare and were in the neighbourhood, so we slipped into the 17th-century Westerkerk. It boasts the tallest tower in the city and Rembrandt is said to be buried there, although no one’s actually found the great man’s grave. I’d just been researching stained glass windows for the forthcoming Royal Mail Yearbook, and writing in glowing terms about the ethereal atmosphere they create. The thing about the Westerkerk though is that there’s no stained glass at all, just these massive domed windows that let in incredible light, even on the dullest day. You’d expect this no-frills approach in a country where the ‘low church’ predominates, but it struck me that natural light is a far more powerful metaphor for God than man-made imagery, no matter how beautiful. Even as an unbeliever, I was impressed.