Monday, June 25, 2007

Steering Group and strange writers

Groan. Monday. What more can I say really? Mind you, had a great series of dreams last night in which I was having various adventures with a group of people in a haunted house with lots of rooms. All very exciting – it’s really keeping me going through the morning grind. It’s ages since I’ve had a dream like that. I do so love it when they turn up.

Anyway, this morning, I’ve dealt with all my emails, and have stared at the presentation I’m going to be making at this lunchtime’s Steering Group so much that I no longer have any idea at all what it’s about. How I hate making presentations. I’d ten million times rather be reading from my fiction or poetry – at least that’s something I feel emotionally connected to. And even then I don’t like doing the public speaking thing. Never mind – I’ve taken two calming pills at breakfast, and I’ve already had a Rescue Remedy spray – will no doubt have another one or two later on as well. If only someone would create a confidence pill, I’m sure I’d be first in the queue.

So, this afternoon, with the utter relief of having got my talking bit over, I shall be writing up the minutes and staring out at the rain. And generally feeling depressed actually. I seem to be in a lovely “rage followed by depression” loop right now, again – my, how the evenings fly by in downtown Godalming … And how I love these English summers. Not. Heck, at least it’s keeping the wasps at bay – and that is no bad thing for sure. This evening, Lord H is out at theology, doing the 20th century, and I’m hoping to up the tension levels in The Bones of Summer. Hmm, so I’d better write something then. If I can raise myself from my current lethargy. I’m also expecting Jay Mandal to pop round with the books he wants me to put on the table Goldenford is hosting at the Winchester Writers’ Conference ( Stop press: Jay popped round, gave me his books, and then started criticising mine. Hmm, not the best way to get me to sell anything with enthusiasm. What is it with these writers?? I've never asked him to provide me with a blow-by-blow account of my failings - why therefore do people assume they have the right to do it?? Deep sigh. Mind you, I suspect I gave as good as I got and, in any case, I'm by far the better novelist (Jay being more of a short story writer), tee hee. So sod that for a game of soldiers really.

And The Literary Consultancy ( have had The Gifting for about a month now (heck, who’s counting, ho ho?...) but I don’t anticipate I’ll hear much on the edit until at least another month has gone by. You’d think I’d be used to the waiting game by now, but I’m not. And it’s still horrid. Even though it won’t result in an actual rejection this time – but just a rewrite.

Thanks though to Ansley Vaughan ( who’s just started A Dangerous Man ( and is finding it intriguing and gripping. Thanks, Ansley – that means a great deal! And I hope the feeling lasts for you.

Now we’re in the holiday season (not that we ever take a real holiday in summer, but you know what I mean …), Lord H and I are planning a long weekend away in July – hurrah! We’re hoping to go to the Purbecks in Dorset, but I'll have to wait and see when Mother's op/treatment will be. Lordy lordy, but it would be sooo nice to get away after the horrendously busy month I’ve been having.

And some good news! This time on the Glyndebourne ( front – Lord H has been on the membership waiting list so long now (about twenty years indeed – people have been known to bump off those at the top of the list, I’m sure, in order to advance their own cause, or bequeath their places to their children on the assumption that they’ll peg out before they get there themselves …) – that they’ve finally taken pity on us, and are offering a year’s free membership in 2008 – yes we’ll take it, we’ll take it!! And afterwards a real live place in the membership category for a reasonable price (and not the £5000 they expect you to pay if you want to improve your membership waiting list position …). So huzzahs all round and someone crack open the champagne. And I must say that the twenty years’ waiting list position we’ve had to undergo has been a million times more enjoyable than the living hell and months/years of no communication that most publishers put us writers through. At least Glyndebourne corresponds with you, you get to go to some lovely operas, you get special offers on a regular basis and they treat you as if you’re important. If only publishers understood even the concept of Customer Relationship Management, eh?...

Indeed I feel I might be on the verge of offering to start a "Quality But Still Waiting to Hear" Authors’ Club – I’m sure there’d be plenty of takers. And one of our key strategies would be that every time (and surely that would be a rare occasion for a quality writer these days …) a member was suctioned off by the Mainstream Press (MPs for short – funny how, for me as an Essex Girl who grew up in a garrison town, that always stands for Military Police, rather than anything more civilised …), all other members would be entitled to tear them limb from limb whilst chanting: “Don’t forget your writing is no better than ours, and if you start to believe the pap they’re feeding you about how wonderful you are, we’re also entitled to rip off your fingers ...”.

Never say I’m not a generous-hearted and reasonable type. Heck, at least I’ve warned the buggers.

Biggest grip of the day though – they’ve shut Roots CafĂ© so now we have to go outside to get to the loo. In the cold and rain – double groan indeed!! Oh, and I’ve got to do the shopping on the way home too. Help! I just need some time alone - but when oh when will it happen??!!...

But just when I thought my day would be drowned in gloom, Sally popped in with a small box of chocolates as a late birthday present, and I clung to her, almost weeping for joy. Utter bliss! On such small turns of fate are whole histories formed, don't you know. It's astonishing how happy one chocolate (okay, three ...) can make you feel.

And I've given up on the dull, way too wordy The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson - too much tell and not enough show, m'dears. What on earth were Richard 'n' Judy thinking? My advice is get something else for your summer read!

Oh, and “Rome” last night was as wonderful as ever. Honestly, it’s the best thing on TV by a long chalk. What bliss they’re doing it twice weekly now, so I don’t have to wait too long between traumas. Tonight, I’m also planning to watch the rerun of “Have I Got News for You”. A girl needs something light-hearted to ease her into the sleeping zone, you know. Heck, I deserve it.

Today’s nice things:

1. Ansley liking the start of A Dangerous Man – thanks, again, Ansley!
2. Writing
3. Sally's chocolates.

Anne Brooke


Lover of Books, Films and Good Coffee Shops Everywhere! said...

Hi Anne, well if you do make it down to Dorset-shire perhaps we could all meet up at a bird watching place somewhere and take over a hide :-)

Oh dear, I've got Gideon Mack to read still - I will still have a go to see what I think though. I'm still plouging through the Shadow of the Wind which is great but very long.........

Hope you are having a more relaxed day today.

Anne Brooke said...

Great idea, Sue - we can do chatting while the boys do ... um ... silence!!

You might enjoy GM though - it's probably just me!! Sorry ....



Peter said...

Hey, hide taking over sounds fund to me..

Lord B-I-L

Anne Brooke said...

Tee hee! As long as you're quiet, Peter!