Up at the crack of dawn today - or almost - in order to get myself ready for the Goldenford booksigning at Book Boyz in Farnborough. I set off an hour before I needed to be there as I live in utter fear of driving to strange places and getting kidnapped by aliens lying in wait to pounce on weary travellers. Yes, my brain is like that. However, I managed to find the right carpark and even got myself onto the levels which provided cheaper parking (hurrah!). I must admit to being rather spooked by the fact that, at 10.30am on a Saturday morning before Christmas, I was the only one there. However, I soldiered bravely on. As one does.
I even managed to find the bookshop without too much trouble and set up half an hour before we were actually due to start. Um, not that anyone was waiting for us, I'm sad to say. And even when Jennifer arrived to liven up proceedings, the situation remained unchanged, thus proving that the Curse of Goldenford holds sway over Hampshire, as well as Surrey. I did do a lot of smiling, however, with the special plastic smile (the one formed of despair and faint, fluttering hope) that I keep for these occasions. I'd polished it specially this morning. However, to break up our sad time in Solitary, I did have one conversation with a man who played golf, who picked up a copy of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice on the assumption that it was a book about wine, but dropped it pretty sharpish when he realised it wasn't. We also talked to a woman who wanted to know where the DVD of "Hamlet" was, as it wasn't in the Military Campaigns section which she thought was very odd. Hmm, we thought it was odd too, but in a different way, I suspect. By this time, we were so desperate, cold (we were near the open door ...) and lonely that Jennifer purchased a magnetic poetry set and we played with it for a while.
I produced this:
A poem found whilst passing time at a book signing
Actually, I think it says it all really. Bizarrely, this frenzied activity drew the attention of a poet in the bookshop, with whom we had a marvellous conversation about poetry, writing, the Titanic and Julie Christie, and who finally took pity on us and bought a copy of Jennifer's The Gawain Quest. So we broke our duck: one book sold, hurrah! Thank you kindly, good sir, and I do hope you enjoy it. It's a fabulous novel. If you like it, please tell all your friends. Heck, we need the cash.
Considering that it would be nice to end on a high, we then immediately packed up and made good our fairly humiliated escape ... A plan of action made far smoother by the fact that Lord H popped in to see us on his birdwatching tour of Farnborough and was therefore able to take my (intact) box of books back home while I went to lunch with Julia. (Hello, Julia!) Which was great, and cheered me up no end.
Back home, I am looking at some of the edits for Thorn in the Flesh, which Jennifer has given me, though there's more to come. From a quick flick through, I can see already that she's picked up on some of my glaring errors (though possibly not as glaring as the ones Jackie picked up on!) - thank goodness for editors, I say. We writers constantly need to be saved from ourselves ...
And tonight, Lord H and I are off to the Guildford Choral Society concert at the cathedral. We're usually invited to the post-concert party, due to knowing some of the choir very well (hello, Robin & Liz!), but I think, after today's exhaustions, I'd just prefer to come home and flop.
Oh and, talking of music, here's a poem I wrote yesterday:
On listening to Bach
Notes shower my skin,
easing the week’s
They wash me clean:
and piano blended
into an ointment
not tasted before
until all my muscles
with the melody
and I am wrapped
in gold and sunlight.
It raises me
into myself again:
this swift, strange
Today's nice things:
1. Surviving a rather desperate booksigning!
2. Lunch with Julia
3. Playing with poetry.