OK I’ve decided – I’m going to apply for the thing. You know, the thing! The thing, the thing, the thing – the Writership in Residency-ness (or whatever the noun is) at the Nottingham Lace Festival. I emailed the woman to ask if they were really looking for a high-profile writer and she said no, not necessarily, so I shall go for it. Yesterday I sent off a short story for another competition and worked on some poems. Then into town to buy coats for the children, after which I am now financially cleaned out.
I have finished the Zadie Smith I was reading (N-W) which I enjoyed very much in spite of some aspects of the style being irritating. I suspect that she was trying to do a bit of a James Joyce on London and since I am not a huge fan of Joyce (not the longer works anyway) it didn’t really work for me, Still, her evocation of living in London was so vivid and brought back so many memories that I couldn’t put it down and it was responsible for at least one sleepless night this week. I did think the novel lacked a sense of completeness; of circularity – but perhaps that was part of the intention, form following theme. It reminded me so much of how I felt in those metropolitan years; the sense of unreality; of having no roots, no community; a sense of floating, as it were, on a sea of temporary contacts; of existing from moment to moment without continuity. Community is very important to me: work contacts, friends, church and other groups we belong to; people we know from here and there. I probably know several hundred people in Leicester; in Hounslow I knew only a handful. I did have friends but they were scattered: one in Richmond, one in Hanwell, one in Ealing… you couldn’t just pop in and see them.
So, now I have begun ‘On Beauty’ which, according to The Vicar of Dibley at least, is a brilliant modern take on E M Forster’s ‘Howard’s End’:
And here is a brilliant modern take on blogging; lizard’s end:
PS Had a lovely phone call yesterday from someone I used to work with asking if I could do a class for them. She said all the students remembered me and asked how I was. That really made me feel good.