Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reflexology, more reviews and the curse of the Japanese toilet

Was thrilled last night when Roger Morris (http://rogersplog.blogspot.com/), author of the marvellous Taking Comfort and the mysterious and much-praised A Gentle Axe, emailed me with a few comments on A Dangerous Man (http://www.flamebooks.com) which can be found here: http://therapsheet.blogspot.com/2007/04/looking-to-future.html under the entry for 16 April, half way down, or as below:

“Another small publisher with an interesting list, and an original approach, is Flame Books. It’s the publisher of the novel I’m reading at the moment, a crime work called A Dangerous Man, by Anne Brooke. A Dangerous Man has garnered praise from no less a writer than Andrew Taylor, who described it as “a dark and chilling parable about art, love and murder.” What’s remarkable about Anne Brooke’s work is her ability to enter convincingly and with extraordinary empathy into the milieus of her protagonists, which I imagine are very different from her own. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t believe she has that much direct experience of male homosexual prostitutes, which makes this a bold and brave book for her to write. I’m all for brave, bold books.”

Gosh, thanks, Roger. Much appreciated. I’m not sure that Michael and I ever feel either brave or bold actually, but there you go …! But, heck, both of us are really pleased you’re liking the book.

At work, it’s been slow but steady, and I’m still ploughing my way through my conference notes. Groan. I was however both cheered and brought back to reality again (as he didn’t like the ending, which is fair enough, and, for the purposes of being honest about my reviews, I’m reproducing as much as I can without spoiling the plot) by an email from Jay Mandal, author of A Different Kind of Love and Slubberdegullion amongst other work (http://www.bewrite.net), who has just finished ADM and says the following:

“I always knew you could write, and this was very, very good. I thoroughly enjoyed it … You’ve found ‘your voice’ (I hate that expression, too). Stick with it. It was taut, edgy, gripping, exciting, a page turner, and I read it slowly because I didn’t want to finish it. It was powerful and passionate, and I wished I’d written it myself. I was really on Michael’s side … The ending was the only thing where I felt let down. I don’t mean sad … I mean I thought it might have been better if it had ended differently. Obviously this is just a personal opinion … Not only did it seem too bleak, but also too out of character.”

Thanks, Jay, for all the comments. They’re much appreciated also. It’s good to get a different view but I must say that, speaking as someone who’s had Michael in her head for years, both he and I honestly feel I couldn’t have ended it any other way. It was the part of the book where his voice and mine gelled the most. Writing it that way felt fantastic and just seemed so fitting. But I do understand that people will find it difficult.

Anyway, all this excitement got me through to lunchtime, when I had a blissful reflexology session and just chilled. I think I might try some Reiki next time, as Emily (http://www.optimum-fitness.co.uk) always adds a couple of minutes of Reiki (at foot level, strange to say!) after my session and I really love it. I certainly need to get my energy levels in some kind of balance, but heck I’ve always known that.

Oh, and Lord H has told me there is apparently some kind of excitement over the curse of the Japanese toilet on the news. It appears that the new craze in Japan is to have electronically heated toilets/bidets (gross thought in itself!) which do virtually everything for you bar the washing-up (though maybe that’s not a good phrase to use in the same sentence as “bidet” …). Unfortunately, the electronics has gone wrong so some of them burst into flame without warning. Scary!! So just when you thought that all you had was a nice warm bottom, beware … Nobody’s been injured yet (thank goodness! Though how could you ever tell anyone!?...), so thank God for small mercies, eh …

Tonight, I might do a bit of scribbling but we’ll see. I’m also aiming to watch “Sea of Souls” on TV, which is probably too scary for my delicate constitution, but I do enjoy the classy pap of it.

And finally, on a more serious note and bearing in mind my part-time paid occupation, I’d like to extend sympathies and a terrified kind of understanding to the staff and students of Virginia Tech University. Dear God, it could happen to any of us institutions here in the Higher Education world, as it’s already happened in too many schools. But why oh why didn’t they at least try to shut the whole darn thing down after the first incident?? I know it’s a virtually impossible task in something the size and structure of a normal campus, but you would have thought something could have been done. I hope we’ll all learn lessons from this, in every way. Please God.

Anne Brooke

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