Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Conf 121: Writing about writing about writing

No. of words: 43,387

'Writing about writing is a second best. For a writer the process is only of interest when he or she finds that they cannot do it (as today 13 November 2001). If I could write... a play, a short story, anything.. I would, writing about writing (or not writing) is just vamping till ready. A writer only feels he or she is a writer at the point of performance, the moment of writing. Do anything else, even related activities like research or background reading, and the claim seems fraudulent. A writer is only a writer when writing. The rest is marking time. And your published books and plays don't count; they only prove that you were a writer yesterday but not today, not now.' Alan Bennett, Untold Stories, pub. 2005

Today sees the launch of the fantastic online poetry archive. Here you can listen to poets, from Tennyson to Kipling and Browning through to Ginsberg and Armitage:

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Conf 120: River Mist

No. of words: 43,342

Jacqui Lofthouse sent me these lovely images of the river behind our new house, thanks to her mate Sue. As Sue says, it really is one of west London's best kept secrets. Makes me want to check out some more visual blogs, and perhaps even get myself organised camera/digital wise. Love her icy windscreen too.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Conf 119: Translations Boyd & Mann

No. of words: 41,398

Bamboo collection of essays by William Boyd is Radio 4's Book of the Week this week. Today's was about first time directing nerves. I could well identify with this, but he used a highly irritating linking device which spoilt the reminiscenses rather. The first two extracts (Monday and Tuesday for Listen Again link), however, were wonderful. Tuesday's was about adaptations and the authorly thrill of being translated. Especially seeing your words changed into strangely shaped languages like Greek and Russian. This reminded me of my own translation dilemma. Both novels were due out in Russia in August, my only foreign sales. I've heard nothing, had no excitingly weird covers through the post and there's been no correspondence. I did send one e-mail, around the end of September asking what was happening. She said she'd let me know when she heard from her Russian co-agent but she expected they'd been delayed. Now it's nearly the end of November and I have to resign myself to realising this may be just the final nail of the whole disappointing getting published experience.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Conf 118: Quiz Chumps

No. of words: 40,468

Began the weekend leafing through Leonardo's sketchbook at newly- discovered British Library online. All sorts here, including Jane Austen originals and the very first Alice in Wonderland, beautifully written with sketches. Amazing to actually be able to leaf through these pieces of writing sipping morning cup of tea, and see that they really did start as simply that, words on the page.

The computer gets switched on first thing now along with the kettle, for on-line radio, & am using it for more un-work-like activities, not, alas, for more wordcount. Hitting the 40,000-mark should be encouraging, but have actually done a lot more than that so was quite disappointed at new tally. This is because am cutting more crap as I go, which in the end will be a good thing.

The last weekend of autumn, bright sunshiney days. Snow on the way later in the week. We cycled along river to to Twickenham on Saturday, England were playing against the All Blacks at the Stadium. Had stonebaked pizza in empty Zizzi restaurant, did the bits of shopping business and cycled back to sounds of roars from stadium, fantastic electric noise of 60,000-odd people all shouting at once.

Saturday evening saw complete and utter humiliation at the school quiz night with our team of 3 children, 2 published novelists, one astro-physicist and a musically savvy computer expert coming LAST! out of about 15 teams, one of which was completely made up of children. This was further emphasised by our neighbouring table, whose papers we marked, coming first; and us all having to go up and collect a wooden spoon award, which just about demolished the 14 yr old boy, let alone his dad who said he'd never in his life been so humiliated. What we didn't realise was, apart from not having the full number of team members, was that here we were in Twickenham, home of 1,000 pubs, pubs of which a fair proportion hold quiz nights, an even bigger proportion of which have sport, especially rugby, as a par for the course topic. Getting nought in the sports round is what finished us off. Also unforgettable horrors such as us 2 musicos mistaking The Jam for The Clash and partner motor racing fan getting the car question wrong. Never mind, two sportos have already been recruited for next year.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Conf 117: Cockatoo Cocktail

No. of words: 38,989

Having enjoyed time without novel noose hanging round neck, but now the routines return. One day on it this week. A slow, painful why don't I give this up kind of a day. Have mostly had excuse of more Guardian stuff then more post prod transcriptions. Opened parcel of tapes hoping for more giggling behind the scenes of Morecombe and Wise and Two Ronnies but instead got documentary about infectious diseases. After I got over the shock I found it interesting and informative to say the least. Immediately started storing raw meat in separate fridge (rather spoils the champagne and chocolate effect but there you go).

It was raining leaves today. Even though have only moved less than half a mile from last house have been taking advantage of bright autumn days to explore area. Highlight today was stopping to admire shocking pink rose peering over a back garden fence. Then seeing behind it a tree of orange crab apple-type fruits being devoured by flock of lime-green parrots. I'd take the camera tomorrow but the fruit will all be gone. When I got back a man over the road boomed 'heLOOOOOOO there!' and I turned round and said called hello and his wife nudged him along.

Fascinating Christina Lamb report on Afghanistan last night on late TV. Definitely on my Christmas list.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

CONF 116: Agent Goldmine

This is what I've been looking for all these years. Esp love the 'this agent is actively seeking new clients' entries and 'this agency no longer accepts snail mail queries' is too wonderful for words. Now all I have to do is move to the US.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Conf 116: Chickens and Eggs

No of words: same

No of words: same. No. of words: same. I might as well cut and paste.

Post production work from home v. pleasant, transcribing light entertainment Christmas show, interviewing writers about comedy writing. Fascinating & useful.

Now to read next instalment of My Family & Other Animals for bedtime reading.

"I came to know the plump peasant girls who passed the garden every morning and evening. Riding side-saddle on their slouching, drooping-eared donkeys, they were shrill and colourful as parrots, and their chatter and laughter echoed among the olive-trees. In the mornings they would smile and shout greetings as their donkeys pattered past, and in the evenings they would lean over the fuchsia hedge, balancing precariously on their steeds' backs, and smiling, hold out gifts for me - a bunch of amber grapes still sun-warmed, some figs black as tar striped with pink where they had burst their seams with ripeness, or a giant water-melon with an inside like pink ice."

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.