Sunday, 8 July 2007

I'm writing this underneath the stairs. My friend Gwen has kindly volunteered her childrens' computer so as I was getting withdrawal symptoms from not writing, here I am. A surprise Sunday afternoon blog.

It's noisy at my mother's house. The phone rings a lot, with endless messages of goodwill from her endless friends. She may not have a husband but she has friends in abundance, and they care about her. A lot. When the phone is quiet, Wimbledon is on, and I left her glued to the TV, a cup of tea by her side and a flapjack to keep her energies uo (she's lost a lot of weight and needs feeding up. A family complaint).

The important thing is that she is in good spirits - you'd never think she'd had major surgery 2 days ago. Her dark brown eyes are startlingly clear and her voice is light and free of pain. phew. Consequently we are all more relaxed adn even enjoying our nursing sojourn.

In fact it's turned into quite a social whirl. I've had three offers of company while dog walking so HImself is delighted - he's let off the Long Walk and is earning brownie points by doing endless jobs and creating culinary masterpieces. Then yesterday when we went shopping we bumped into a friend from Falmouth who's housesitting up here and suggested we met for a drink last night. We did. We've also been invited for a drink with other friends tonight. The giddy heights of Devon social life. Added to that, Ways with Words, the literary festival is on, so I went to a talk with Kate Atkinson this morning and am on my way to see another one with Esther Freud later on. (Himself is Patient Sitting, though that's not really necessary as Wimbledon is doing that.)

The audience at Kate A's talk was mostly women, average age 65+ though I was glad to see a spattering of elderly men. She is shorter and larger than I would guess from her author picture, with a fondness for large jewellery - heavy chunky bracelets and a huge turquoise ring on her left hand, third finger. Like a lot of the audience she wears Moshulu sandals, turquoise.

She is nervous to start with, you can tell by her garbled speech but soon she settles down, revealing a good sense of humour, an ability to laugh at herself which is always endearing. She said she thuoght the purpose of anovel is for the characters to find their true identity - as it is in life, I suppose.

I sat next to a dark haired lady making spasmodic notes from Kate A's talk. 'Failed doctorate' she wrote. This evidently cheered her. 'Short stories Good practice for novel writing.' In fact KA learnt her apprenticeship this way - she wrote short stories for womens mags (n the days when they still published them) and said this was an excellent way to learn her trade. She's had her failures, including one rejection letter which said, 'I don't like your writing so I don't want to be your agent.' Well, at lesat you know where you are with comments like that.

'What I had,' she said, 'was profound self belief that I would get published.' And she was right.

5 comments:

Miss Understood said...

Hope you enjoyed the afternoon.

You're only about half an hour away from me right now...if I'd known, I'd have joined you for a glass of wine or three!

Rebecca Taunton said...

It sounds like you're having a busy time in Devon, but I know that Buster will be looking forward to seeing you when you get back! (Although I have a feeling he's been enjoying the peace and quiet away from Mollie!).

Around My Kitchen Table said...

Welcome to Devon! I wish the weather had been better for you, but it's still beautiful here, even when it's pis-pis-persistently raining. I've read a couple of Kate Atkinson's books and really like her. Glad your mother is doing so well. XX

Flowerpot said...

What a shame, missu! We couldhave sunk a few. I needed them n sunday, I can tell you....

RT - see blog I'm just writing re Bussie. I bet he enjoyed having run of the place without Mollie though. Any wild parties?

Around - the weather was OK. didn't get soaked. Glad to know teh Devon blog contingent were nearby!

Motheratlarge said...

I really like Kate Atkinson's writing - great insight into family dynamics. Like your last line quoting her about self-belief. It's a much under-estimated quality that all writers need!