Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sunday night was the launch party for 'Are we nearly there yet?" - my anthology of poetry and short stories. A brilliant night -thanks to everyone who came, listened, laughed, bought the book... especially if you did all 4. Copies now available from my website. A free estimated time of arrival with every book.
I found a great Kierkegaard notion for the start: "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards" - but now, in the same curious way the songs on the radio often seem about my current preoccupations, I keep finding other quotes that resonate: like Mary Oliver's words
"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

And I like too her question:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

On the subject of profound questions, Clare Dudman, who I met in Languedoc, has posted some great questions on her blog, with her answers and links to others' answers too.
Clare allowed herself 15 minutes for each answer, but I did the lot in three. Which may explain why hers are rather more profound...

1. What is the Book Whisperer? It's that rustling in your head that has to come out as writing
2. Why can I smell when it is going to snow? I can’t, I'm at home turning up the heating.
3. Tell me about a road that leads to a world where there are no ideas. It’s the M25, but there are ideas, it's just that they’re not the ones we need.
4. How can I get a memory out of my head? Cauterise it. Don’t try drowning it, in tears or booze, that just makes it swell.
5. Where is Shallowland and what lives there? Things too tender for the amnesia of deepness
6. Who is the man that lives inside the sun? It used to be Apollo, but he seems to be on a sabbatical this summer
7. When did you first know who you were? Tomorrow, maybe...
8. Why do gnats fly in spirals and never hit each other? The interaction of longing, lust and love.
9. What is love? It's the third in the gnat-tryptych of life. If we put it in the middle instead of at the side, all the problems of the world would melt.
10. How can I capture a free spirit? Cruelly. Don’t try it.

And now Frome Festival really is over until next year: The 'writers in residence' from the first Saturday reconvened at Christies to read their stories & poems and to hear which ones judge Helena Drysdale had picked as winners. It's usual to say how hard it is to select from such a high standard, but this was self-evidently true: everything I heard had me in awe that so creative & polished a piece could be produced in so short a time - and from so public a writing desk! Overall winner was Tracy Wall who regularly rides in from Glastonbury to trounce all-comers at Frome events, with local hero Scott MacKillioan a popular runner-up. Pix from Alan Summers - thanks Alan!

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