An in-between Summer…

I haven’t blogged for ooh, ages. I know. I’ve been meaning to, but, you know how it is. And I absolutely have to make a conscious decision to be better organised. Although, in my defence, I had three weeks of rather nasty back pain that stopped me in my tracks. It’s frightening how something so simple can utterly derail everything: there is no getting away from back pain, it colours everything in jagged spines that slice right through the core of you. And then it just becomes so fucking boring, too. But never mind, it’s done with now. Hurrah.

So I’m in that in-between phase, in the no-man’s land between having been a bit useless, and gearing up to Do All The Things. And it’s the school holidays too: my daughter has finished primary school, and is doing the developmental groundwork before full rehearsals for the teenage years begin. And of course, getting ready for secondary school. We have begun buying the uniform etc. And I have remembered how to tie a tie, a thing I haven’t had to wear since 1988. So there’s that little tidbit of knowledge to impart. And once the new routine begins in September, and the new stationery has been bought, and the new pencils sharpened, perhaps new words will be transmitted from brain to paper, and screen.

So in the meantime, we play. We go to the cinema, (we’ve seen Ant-Man, and LOVED IT, and Inside Out, which we enjoyed), we go swimming, we’ll be going to London, and there’ll be other things to do too. In the meantime, I have to negotiate access to my desk, while my daughter constructs worlds in MineCraft.

In the meantime, there is the small matter of rehearsing some readings. I have been asked to participate in the Spoken Word event at this year’s Stroud Fringe Festival. I have been described, by someone whose professional opinion I value a great deal, as ‘an up and coming writer’. Oh, GULP. Someone has faith in me, and has publicly declared it. And I find that I am feeling a little daunted. I mustn’t disappoint. I mustn’t let them down. I absolutely HAVE to be better at what I do. Cue, getting organised. Etc.

In the meantime, here is something I’ve been listening to for ages, because I love it. I’m listening to it now, in fact. So plug in your headphones, close your eyes/ turn out the lights, and let it wash through you. It’s beautiful.

NB: As of yet, the Fringe website does not have performance details. But it will, soon.


Catching up.

May has been a challenging month. I’ve spent most of it enduring chronic back pain, which has involved a great deal of bad language, hobbling around with a stick, and more bad language. It has meant that I have been unable to spend very long at my desk, as sitting for too long resulted in being unable to stand easily. I’ve gone through anti-inflammatories, strong painkillers and a can of Deep Heat. Nice! But I’m much better now, and much happier for being able to move freely and easily. (And happier still for no longer smelling of Deep Heat…)

So while writing has been problematic, I’ve had more time to catch up with reading, generally while propped up against the wall, or the fridge. In no particular order then; A.S. Byatt’s The Matisse Stories, Françoise Sagan’s The Unmade Bed, Muriel Barbery’s The Gourmet, and this afternoon I whizzed through Andrew Losowsky’s The Doorbells of Florence. However, it’s been a long hot day and I have no desire currently to review them. I will say that if you love Françoise Sagan, you will love The Unmade Bed, and The Doorbells of Florence is just delightful.

Also delightful is the wisteria tangling over the front of the house, the aquilegia in pinks and purples in their medieval panoply, and the clematis that I’d forgotten about clambering over the water butt tucked in the corner of the back garden. I love summer, the impossible blue skies, the constant stream of birdsong. I’m not so keen on the heat – it makes me either stupid, cross or both. Oh dear! I can’t spend long in the sun, even with factor 50, as my pale skin frizzles. This year I have resorted to the stuff in a bottle in order to have a skin-coloured skin-tone. So far the effect is not orange…

In other news, since my back stopped trying to beat me up,  I have – at last! – rewritten La Nouvelle Cendrillon. Hooray and other jubilatory noises. It just needs the final polish, and then it goes back to the editor who requested it. One thing intrigues me though – what is in a name. When first I began to draft this story – October 2008 – with the idea of subverting a few fairy-tales with a sci-fi twist, it seemed a logically good idea that the heroine should be named Bella. Since then of course, Christine Meyer has been bent on taking over the world. So is it entirely co-incidental then that the only real editorial interest came after I changed Bella’s name? Or is that doing both my writing and the editor a disservice? And why does the word disservice look wrong? I think that I’d better stop now, or I’ll be going round and round and making myself dizzy. Time to close everything down and go to bed, so I can look forward to leaping out of bed in the morning, something I will never take for granted again.