Friday, November 28, 2008

Books, Thorn and blog refusals

A lovely surprise today when I realised that my brother-in-law has read Thorn in the Flesh, liked it and put a review up on his blog on 26 November - gosh, thank you, Peter. I'm torn between being delighted that you enjoyed it and horrified that you now actually know what your brother's wife is really like. Oh Lordy, I may have to come to our Christmas get-together in disguise ... Still, it could have been worse - at least you didn't read any of the gay ones (hide them at once, Sue - for our own peace of mind, our menfolk must remain innocent! Though I fear it is already too late for Lord H ...).

This morning I have spent a pleasant couple of hours shopping in and around Godalming. I managed to get something suitable for the stepfather (hurrah!), and bought a couple of pairs of cords for myself as I really do need something thicker for winter birdwatching purposes. Lord H does insist on beating his way through thorn-bushes to get to the prize and my legs simply can't take the danger any more ... I also had a couple of good moments when (a) the traffic light that is always, always against me today wasn't so I swanned past a great line of traffic turning right in order to turn left whilst wearing a big grin and shouting "yes!" (as you can see, I am always gracious in victory ...); and (b) the petrol attendant was unusually jolly and polite, which cheered me greatly.

Back home, I have got to grips (of sorts) with Hallsfoot's Battle once more and now have just over 61,000 words to my name. Not sure what Johan and Annyeke are going to do about the latest crisis, but I trust they will think of something. Or at least Annyeke will - she's a kick-ass Gathandrian woman if ever I wrote one.

I've also, and strangely, impressed myself by not immediately saying yes to a very lovely new author who has very kindly asked if this blog can be one of the stops on her forthcoming blog tour. By all that's holy in the writing arena, this is a wonderful thing to be asked and every other writer in the known world would be jumping at the chance. But - and it's a big but (as it were!) - it just makes me feel like the "bridesmaid rather than the bride" again. And there's enough people in the world who are happy to put me on the sidelines without me bringing it on myself deliberately. (The same is surely true for us all indeed ...) I also do have issues with the particular publisher concerned (not the author in question's fault, I hasten to add - but simply my own rejection and resentment, plus my dislike of the way I was dealt with at the time). Pre-yesterday, I would have said yes, if only for the hazy sense of my own career progression. Such as it was. Today I have said no, if only for my own mental health. And there's a liberation in that somewhere too, I think.

Which has led on to another unexpected decision: I have for the first time in over a year, maybe more, actually submitted some of my poetry to a magazine. Perhaps shedding all these things I've been carrying on my shoulders for what seems like ages (friends I no longer see nor want to, church, writing commitments etc) has left me more able to do things that interest me or seem important? It does feel like a step back to a more suitable path - and there's a kind of liberation in that too, I think.

I have finished Germaine Greer's biography, "Shakespeare's Wife". A very interesting insight into the life and times of the period with some revelatory insights into the possible relationship between Shakespeare and Ann Hathaway. But I did feel there were simply too many facts, which tended to make Ann herself disappear somewhat. Greer obviously knows her stuff and she is of course a wonderful writer - but I think it needed a bit of cutting.

I've also read our next University book group choice - Jean-Dominique Bauby's "The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly". All very worthy indeed in terms of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity - but I did think Bauby himself was hugely irritating and could be quite bitchy about people who were, after all, only trying to help. He was also very self-obsessed - and yes I do know that's what illness (especially such an illness!) does to one, but it doesn't make it pleasant. And if anyone's going to be self-obsessed around here, it's going to be me ... I also suspect that I wouldn't have much liked the man when he was well, so I fail to see why I should modify that view because of the tragedy he suffered through. It didn't feel life-affirming anyway.

Tonight, I have a plethora of TV to watch, though I must also do some dusting before the dust-police come round. Ooh, and I forgot to say (mea culpa!) - Lord H has bought a new car (well, new to him) and we should be collecting it tomorrow. How very exciting it all is - just in time for our upcoming holiday!

And here's today's meditation poem:

Meditation 11

My mind reverberates
with acacia boxes, gold,

incense rising,
the morning greeting

of the priests,

bread, fish,
water, the overwhelming needs

of people
and behind them all

the still and distant mountain.

Today's nice things:

1. Peter's response to Thorn
2. Shopping
3. Beating a traffic light
4. Pleasant petrol attendants
5. Writing more of Hallsfoot
6. Saying no
7. Books
8. A new car for Lord H
9. Poetry
10. Poetry submissions.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - making decisions for itself ...


litlove said...

Just a word regarding Bauby, who used to crop up in my first year translation class as one of the test passages. Bauby, as you'll now know, married the nurse who looked after him when he had locked in syndrome and translated his code into the book itself. I used to make the students laugh by saying that only a Frenchman could pick up a woman with only one eyelid working. Ah, I used to enjoy telling that joke - sorry, just don't get to do it anymore!

Anne Brooke said...

Yes, he did seem to get around rather! I hadn't picked up about the nurse though. Great joke indeed.



Sheila Cornelius said...

This book made a beautiful film,which I saw last year.
Another film in the same vein, but even more harrowing is 'Her name is Sandrine', a moving portrait of her autistic sister by movie actress/director Sandrine Bommaire.

Anne Brooke said...

Glad the film was good, Sheila!