I began my second week in Cortijo Romero with a bang – on my head, caused by reckless lane-leaping and resulting in a trip to Motril hospital with Maggie for an x-ray. My Spanish doesn't extend beyond bright & benign holas and gracias, but I could tell from the sniggers that Maggie was repeating the tale of the fig-scrumping granny with gleeful relish.
Luckily no repercussions ensued, other than the obvious teasing, and I was back in time for supper with the new group.
There seems to be a special energy for writers at this venue, perhaps something to do with the calm of our moorish work room, the inspirational gardens, physical stimulation of yoga and pool-play, and the nourishment of knowing that amazing meals will frequently appear... Or maybe the people who are drawn to find their writing voices in this venue are simply exceptional people, open-minded and open-hearted. I'll remember this group for its wonderfully varied explorations of mood and style, and huge mutual support. Which is what makes it all happen, so mega-thanks Ray, Jacqui, Russ, Annette, Lucy, and Pauline - and everyone else too, for walks, talks, word-'tasting', and companionship.
I especially like the image (below) of popular facilitators Tristem and Yvonne enjoying the cabaret interpretation of their yoga sessions.. and I've loved the long walks into the foothills along the acequias - ancient moorish irrigation routes still used today.
And when not in the Alpujarras I’ve been in New York – in 1909 Manhattan, to be specific.
I don’t usually do book recommendations here as there are so many sites devoted to reading & reviews, but The Interpretation of Murder achieved the near-impossible, creating a world almost as vivid and irresistibly compelling as Cortijo Romero. Probably the best novel I’ve read this century, it's a murder mystery narrated from various viewpoints with cliff-hanging intensity, solved through a mix of psychological and Shakespearean analysis; real events and social history are entwined inextricably with dramatic – and melodramatic – inventiveness. You can get a taste of the style here - I was hooked from that opening paragraph. Author Jed Rubenfeld's exploration of the psyches of Freud, Jung and Hamlet shows inspiringly how personal specialism can enrich fiction.
Home now, scampering to catch up with all that's occurring in & around Frome - including next month's Poetry Platter at the Merlin, featuring Elvis Mcgonagall, World Slam winner, festival favourite, radical rhymester of Radio 4, and standup comedic genius, of whom it has been so rightly said: "If poetry is the new rock'n roll then Elvis is Elvis". I'm so excited I managed to twist his arm, bite his ankle, and generally pester him into agreement to be our guest, and look forward to a brilliant night. If you're anywhere near Frome on 29th September, Merlin stage is the place to be - seats severely limited so do book!