Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gin, grief and medicine

My first review as a fully-fledged Book Fox for the Vulpes Libris review site is now up and is the gloriously dark and deliciously chewy Kill-Grief by Caroline Rance. Read and enjoy - it's a classy book.

Speaking of words, I must say how utterly wonderful yesterday's programme on Milton's Paradise Lost turned out to be. I was gripped. Even Lord H was gripped and expressed a desire to read the great poem afterwards (even though he hates poetry) - well gosh! We were all gripped. Full marks to that unexpectedly dark, rich and passionate presenter, Armando Iannucci, for telling it how it is and letting Milton's astonishing words live and breathe to the full. It was electrifying television and if any of you were unfortunate enough to miss it, do please rush off now and activate your BBC2 i-players. It'll be the best hour of factual TV you've seen in a long, long time. Now if only they'd hired Iannucci to present the John Donne programme as well, then that would have been absolutely perfect too.

I was also amused - and strangely heartened - to hear that when Milton (after about 20 years of writing it) finally got round to publishing Paradise Lost, the two initial reactions he received were (a) "Did you realise it doesn't rhyme and that's not very commercial?" - from his publisher; and (b) "It's all very nice, but why didn't you write about paradise regained?" - from his best friend. Ye gods, and there was I thinking I was hard done by as a writer ... It's enough to make you want to take your trusty quill pen and poke their eyes out with it. As Iannucci said: how rude!

Tying nicely in to matters spiritual, here's this morning's poem:

Meditation 135

Midday heat.
The scent of water
on the skin.
The waiting air.

A woman walks,
framed in sunlight,
towards a man
she has never known

and known for ever
while words rest
by the well
under the tongue

as the moment turns.

Oh, and I must say that I've been desperately squeezing the last of my toothpaste out of the tube in increasingly vigorous efforts over the last couple of days whilst accompanied by suitable swearing at modern manufacturers - I do so hate waste - but this morning after Lord H had left for work, I dragged myself to the bathroom and found that - yes! - he'd already squeezed it out for me onto the toothbrush to save me the effort and left brush & paste balanced on the flannel. What a super-hero indeed. Of such gloriously miniature moments is a modern marriage made ...

This morning, I've added more to that last battle scene of Hallsfoot's Battle and I think they're working towards closure now. I know roughly in my head what's going to happen (which is, as you know, rare), who will die and who won't. I feel quieter and less desperate about it at the moment - a good thing for sure - and the panic to get to the end has faded slightly. So I'm taking it as it comes and trying to write what I think needs to be written. I hope, eh.

So, I reckon I've deserved my Clarins massage this afternoon - it was bliss as ever. The only thing was at the end I realised (which I did know about but I'd forgotten, shame on me ...) that it was my last session with Hilary as she's leaving for pastures new and next time I'll be seeing Alice. I felt suitably traumatised for having forgotten and not having bought Hilary a leaving present - honestly, I am indeed crystallising into a self-centred, thoughtless slapper in my middle years. My mother was right after all then, hey ho. Sometimes I forget that there's a world beyond my own head, sigh ...

Anyway, back home, I briefly caught up with the neighbour who's now out of hospital and looking stronger, double hurrahs. I've then spent the rest of the day improving on the book trailer for The Bones of Summer - it's been niggling at me for weeks so today I've gone in, knocked it around a bit, added another image and got the music to end where I want it to, just about. I'm keeping that trailer under wraps for the moment as the novel isn't out until the middle of June, but watch this space. I've also been adding a Vulpes Libris page to my website, which took some time as I forget to update the actual link whilst putting it in (sorry, techno talk, sorry ...) so had to go back over each page and do it again. I think it's right now though, but if you do see something odd - well, odder than usual on my site - please do let me know. I'll be most grateful.

Tonight, Lord H and I will be glued to Springwatch, and then it's Graham Norton for me. I'm such a classy broad. Oh, and - stop press! - Surrey actually has news, ye gods and little fishes, which you can find out about here. Well, gosh indeedy. News in Surrey that doesn't happen on a Friday - how rare! Who knows: it might therefore even be possible for the Surrey Advertiser to put it on its front page tomorrow in the right week for once. We wait and wonder.

Today's nice things:

1. Caroline Rance's kick-ass wonderful book
2. Milton programme
3. Poetry
4. Writing Hallsfoot
5. Clarins massage
6. Book trailer updates
7. Website work
8. Happy neighbours
9. TV.

Anne Brooke - knows a good book when she sees one
Cancer Research Race for Life - still time to give!


Jilly said...

Love the bit about Milton! Just shows there's always been angst between publishers and authors.

Anne Brooke said...

Very true!!