There are some things which cannot be salvaged. Being able to identify these “irreparables” is a matter of painful experience: there’s no more heartbreaking lesson than spending days trying to correct a piece of prose and finding it even worse off by the end. The only solution is to kill what you have birthed, and recreate it anew. My most recent short started out as a vignette of international migration and intergenerational incomprehension; but the premise itself (stamp-shopping and coffee in Geneva) was so bland that the dialogue and description simply had nothing to support them. So I killed everything past the first “boat” scene – which I knew worked, because it was different versions of me spliced into a single scenario and when you’re writing yourself you tend to capture the truth of things far more achingly than otherwise. And then I spun it out into something completely different. I used to be a fearful kid – fearful of deep water, and caterpillars, and making mistakes. I still am, but I realise other people are too. Our best art – and our best decisions – often stem from knowing when to hold on and when to let go and when to come back once more.