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.

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How to while away the hours…

I am perched on the horns of a dilemma. Not a terribly big dilemma, and certainly, in the grand scheme of things, an unimportant one. But still… in a few days we’re packing ourselves off to Bulgaria; I’ll be away from my desk, from my Mac, from the WIP – that’s always a bit of a wrench – and I can’t make up my mind about what I’m going to take with me to read. I don’t need to worry about the journey – I usually sleep through most of it. But all those long hours of rich golden light – varied with cracking great thunderstorms that break the deadlock of heat – with what shall I fill them?

These are some of my possible options;

George RR Martin A Game Of Thrones – actually that one’s a given as I’ve already begun it.

Roland Barthes Camera Lucida – I’ve been meaning to read this since March.

Téa Obreht The Tiger’s Wife – it has a Balkan setting appropriate to the holiday, making it a strong contender.

Edmund De Waal The Hare with the Amber Eyes – not sure about this one, although people keep telling me I should. The thing is, I don’t much care for being told that I should do something… hmm.

Alison Weir The Lady In the Tower – good historical biography; I love her writing, and her detailed research really does enable her to reconstruct her subjects’ lives into a lively narrative. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Alison Weir has subsequently turned her hand to writing historical fiction as well.

DH Lawrence Women In Love – haven’t read this in years. Watching the recent BBC adaptation made me realise how little of it I remember.

Salley Vickers Aphrodite’s Hat – a collection of short stories by a writer whom I greatly admire.

Keith Richards Life – how is he still alive?!

Michael Ward Planet Narnia – another one that I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

Jay Lake Green – I’ve had my eye on this one for a while…

There are other contenders, but these are the ones that spring immediately to mind, and are also in paperback. Perhaps that indicates a subconscious whittling of possibilities into this shortlist. Except that it isn’t a particularly short list. I have until Sunday night to decide. Which would you choose?

In the meantime, the WIP’s First Draft is at last winding towards its ending. I completed the penultimate chapter in the early hours of this morning, when the Principle Heroine took advantage of my weakened state to become an ipso facto fairy godmother. The edit will tell whether she gets to keep that or not. Can I write the last chapter before we leave? Now that’s a challenge!