Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Literary thoughts and phone mysteries

I think I’m going through my monthly slump at the moment – feeling very flat and low, but have taken my usual supply of Happy Pills this morning (where would I be without them, eh?) and am hoping for easier waters soon. Talking of which, here’s today’s meditation:

Meditation 141

The boldness of water
breathes in

his footsteps
as if they were fish

or a summer dragonfly
dancing over a storm,

while the boat enfolds
his flesh in thunder:

rain, the easing wind,

Staying with literary matters, I'm delighted to say that Painting from Life has had another review on Livejournal, which raises some very interesting issues - thanks so much, Kassa 11, for that. Much appreciated. And, as an aside, the link may warn you that there's adult content involved but that particular link doesn't include any naughtiness (shame!). A special thanks also to Clare London who tipped me off about the review. Thank you, Clare!

At work, I am desperately preparing for the double whammy of meetings (groan …) I have on Monday – the major one is still not sorted yet but I’ll have to send the papers out today, even if only in draft form. Oh, and I’ve finally put the archiving into archiving boxes, though the mystery of how to create an archive box eluded me until Chaplaincy Ruth took pity on my sobs and groans. The instructions told me to look at section D of the flat-pack box in order to start making them up – but there was no section D. Sigh. Thank goodness for the motor skills of parents – it took Ruth about 30 seconds to work it out whereas I’d been struggling for at least five hours. The unfortunate thing was that by the time I’d created my boxes, someone was in the archive room (which also doubles as the meeting room) so I couldn’t get into it anyway. I kept nipping back and peering threateningly through the glass but they were unmovable. Ah well. UPDATE: it’s done, hurrah! I managed to sneak in when nobody was looking and squash the wretched boxes into their spaces, aha. I just hope there's no more archiving for a while, as we're strapped for space.

Meanwhile, I’m getting increasingly twitchy about the frustratingly long silence from the potential (please, God!) US publisher about whether they want to take on The Gifting or not. Honestly, this business is nothing if not soul-destroying. I suppose silence is good news – as if they don’t want it, they let you know soon enough, and I certainly had the same scenario with Flame Books and A Dangerous Man, where agonising months and months went by before the “yes” finally came through – but right now it feels like a doom-laden weight on my head. Sigh. I don’t really know whether to hang onto hope or not. I keep telling myself to wait until the end of the year, but it’s unbelievably hard. Ah well. They do look like such a gloriously good fit for the novel too.

I met up with Fiona from the English Department at lunchtime to thrash out the planning for the autumn reading event. I’m hoping it’s easier than the first time I organised one of these, where I had to end up screaming and sobbing before anyone would help me. I really don’t want to go through that again – but I do believe wholeheartedly in the concept. Again, I’m hoping for smoother waters this time round. UPDATE: Hurrah! - we've been lucky enough to get the hugely talented Charles Christian who runs the Ink Sweat and Tears webzine to come and give us a reading in October, so I'm very much looking forward to that. Thank you so much, Charles, for agreeing to see us!

And, back home, I have had to run the gauntlet of rude telephone people. Honestly!! I saw there were three messages on our answer machine and they all appeared to be from someone called Philip looking for someone called Robert, with increasing desperation as the messages went on. Being a socially minded soul (ho ho), I got the number and rang back to tell the hapless Philip that unfortunately he'd been dialling the wrong number and needed to regroup. Instead of polite gratitude, all I got was a rather abusive reply asking: who the hell I was, and where was Robert (who apparently is a refrigeration engineer) and what number did I think I was on when he definitely had the right number, and therefore it must be all my fault. I told him I had no interest in his problems, I had merely been trying to be helpful, but in his case I wouldn't bother again, and I put the phone down. Really, the cheek of the bloke! Lord H and I have decided that if the pesky bastard rings again, we'll blow a whistle down the phone, beat him with twigs and wish him long agonisingly hot days with no fridge. Really, if the unfortunate Robert has gone AWOL, I have every sympathy ...

Tonight, it’s Springwatch – will the dipper chicks survive their fledging??! The tension mounts, believe me. And Lord H and I are hoping to book our June holiday – I’ve been waiting to see if Dreamspinner Press need me to do anything else for the publication of The Bones of Summer on 22 June, but I haven’t had any response to my request, so I reckon I’m going to book anyway. They do know I have earmarked that time as hols, plus I’ve already signed off the galley proofs (with slight queries about the strange italics font) and I do desperately need to get away. I just hope I don’t upset anyone by taking a decision …

In the meantime, I’ve written a short poem about spaces (again – but different ones …) and I’m still working on that pesky short story about letters. Perhaps I should have stuck to a story about texting, eh?

Today’s nice things:

1. Poetry
2. The Painting from Life review
3. The reading event
4. TV
5. Holiday booking, come what may
6. Pondering short stories.

Anne Brooke - bamboozed by boxes, and phone calls ...
Cancer Research Race for Life - 4 days to go!

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