Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sunflowers, poems and the joys of bitchiness

Some moments of joy this morning when I realised that a delightful person - who I suspect is probably the doctor at the University Health Centre who enjoys taking my dark stuff on holiday with her, God bless you, Vicky - has bought a copy of A Dangerous Man from its Amazon listing. Delightfully, this meant that for a few brief minutes I was actually in the Amazon gay fiction charts - ye gods, Carruthers, somebody pass me the smelling salts as I've never been there before ... Okay, it was in the late 70s in the list and has now sadly vanished but I'm hanging on to my moment of chart glory with all my might. Hell, wouldn't you?

Anyway, I was out fairly bright and early this morning to collect copies of Thorn in the Flesh and Pink Champagne and Apple Juice from the Goldenford office. I was thrilled to find that Jennifer had remembered to leave me the £6.00 I was owed from the Writers' Conference. Hurrah! I am now rich beyond the dreams of Ava Rice. Lucky old Ava.

On the way back home, I popped into Tesco and bought some sunflowers. I love sunflowers. They make me feel so happy just by looking at them. So big and bold and brash. Wonderful. They are now standing firm in the tallest of my vases - looking like nothing so much as yellow-hatted soldiers standing to attention. Bloody hell but there must be a haiku in there somewhere. Give me a map and a torch and I may just find it.

Talking of poetry, I've been thinking about things disappearing (inspired by the various disasters of yesterday) and what it means, so have come up with this, while the bath-water was running:


They take away our books,
then the shelves we put them on.

Next it’s our homes, our friends,
our names.

Last of all, they kill our history
and we are entirely gone.

Nice to have a poem out in the open. Feels like it's been a while. Must be a poetry day really, as I've also written something supremely bitchy about the latest edition of Mslexia, which turned up today. Sigh. Lord alone knows why I bother with it - to my mind, the new layout they've been talking about for ages looks even worse than the old one. Same old attitude too. Anyway, here it is (with apologies to the menfolk: I do know the last stanza is grossly unfair, but somehow it fitted. Sorry ...)

Mslexia blues

I want to be bitchy about Mslexia:
About the way it always makes

my heart groan when it falls through the letter-box.
About how surely the women

it’s supposed to be catering for
must have died out in the Seventies.

Or, with luck, be hidden somewhere dark and deep
where normal folk can’t find them.

I want to shout about the way
it’s so irritatingly worthy

and dull, not to mention prissy.
For if we must have a writing magazine

for women, then please try to find
some real ones to talk to. And a decent font.

Give us grace and wit and charm. Humour,
if you can manage it. Better still,

give us nothing.
Wiser perhaps to turn your attention

to a how-to-read magazine for men
who may well need it.

For the rest of the day, when I'm not worrying about things vanishing or irritating writing mags, I've been working on Hallsfoot's Battle. I haven't done that much - am on about 12,300 words now, but I'm happy with what I've done. Which is something. And for the first time in weeks, I think it might just be going somewhere. Ye gods and little fishes, but I may even have a plot. Of sorts. Miracles can happen, you know.

Tonight, Lord H and I are out at the theatre to see The Quiz. Looks just our sort of thing, m'dears. But I suspect it won't be relaxing. Ah well.

Today's nice things:

1. My moment in the Amazon gay fiction charts
2. Sunflowers
3. Writing
4. Being bitchy
5. Theatre.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers


Jilly said...

I agree with your comments about Mslexia, Anne. I susbscribe as well but do find it a bit too preachy on the 'right' way to write. There is no one right way - there are as many right ways as there are writers. Don't get me started on the typeface - this is not even vaguely user friendly for anyone with any sort of visual impairment. It took me a while to realise I didn't have to aspire to their lofty 'heights'.

Anne Brooke said...

Glad to know there's more than one of us that think the same, Jilly! Time for someone to start a magazine that celebrates all writing women and isn't up its own arse in doing so! Oh and in a format we can read too ...