There is no evidence that Calderon wrote anything new in 1914 after signing up. Yet the previous seven months had been packed with literary-theatrical work: he had written or assembled most of his posthumous best-seller Tahiti, finished a pantomime The Brave Little Tailor with William Caine (music by Martin Shaw), translated the international sensation Reminiscences of Tolstoy (by Il’ia Tolstoi), worked as interpreter/fixer for Ballets Russes during their London visit, and written two libretti for Michel Fokine, Diaghilev’s choreographer. The aborted trip to the Isle of Wight at the end of July seems to have been the first break he had.
Now, judging by his letter to his mother yesterday, a day’s military training left him with no time or energy to write. However, he had always been so ruthless at prioritising that some of his friends felt he just ‘dropped’ projects and causes when he got tired of them. Perhaps he had simply lost the inclination to write? Although he did not share with many people his reasons for joining up, his overriding personal priority seems to have become to contribute to defeating the Kaiserreich’s attack on freedom and decency.
Calderon’s lifelong friend Laurence Binyon remembered how at a dinner party around this time George ‘startled the company by maintaining that England never fought a war except for an idea’.
Next entry: Determined