Oops, this wasn’t supposed to be published just like that – it was meant to be a reminder to me yesterday to link to the insecure writers’ blog. Ah well. Sadly I spent yesterday out of the house and today also; meeting Holly off the train and going to Fingerprints and then – and THEN! – making a Blue Peter pizza box. A Blue Peter pizza box is basically a box you make yourself when your oven isn’t working so you go round to Peter’s house and make pizzas which you want to carry home without them getting blue with cold.* I was very proud of these boxes and I shall keep them for future use. I arrived home and rang the doorbell, announcing ‘Pizza delivery!’ when they answered. Oh, how we laughed. The boxes were actually very successful and the pizza stayed quite hot.
After which we had the kind of evening which doesn’t seem to exist any more: the four of us round the table eating and then playing Trivial Pursuit. Unfortunately it was Dr Who Trivial Pursuit which includes such questions as ‘who was Magatheta’s mother who began the slaughter of the Trimbods on Metebeles III?’ to which the answer is of course ‘Tharg.’ Actually that sounds more Douglas Adams than Dr Who. But then again he was a script editor and wrote several episodes of the series. His pen name was David Agnew.
My pen name, as you all know, is Sarada Gray. Lots of people have been asking me about this as I’ve been walking around holding the latest copy of Mslexia open at the page where my poem is proudly presented. Sarada, in case you can’t be bothered to click the explanatory link above, is the name of a Hindu goddess, aka Saraswati, the goddess of creativity and wisdom. A good combination, I think you’ll agree.
Bong! in other news, having sent my ‘Lady in the Van’ poem off to the London Review of Books, I have been informed that they are considering publishing it.
So that’s all good.
*see what I did there?
Yessssssssssssssssss! 75,000 words completed today! Actually the count according to my laptop was around 76K, though the family computer only made it 73. But I suspect that computer is a nasty little liar. So I’m feeling quite chuffed with myself at the moment, the more so since the novel actually has some sort of rough shape which can be licked and honed and generally tweaked until it’s just about pretty damn-near perfect.
Right now I’m waiting for the husband to return so that we can both lay into the potato curry I’ve made. Potato curry is a staple of mine: since I hate following recipes (see previous post)
I tend to master a few dishes and then do them over and over. Pizza is another thing I do regularly, and from time to time we have lasagne; however since Him Indoors is in charge of cooking, I don’t get to do them very often.
Son has returned from an 18th birthday party. I can’t believe he’ll be 18 in a few weeks too – it’s quite incredible. As is the thought that daughter will soon have finished her first term at uni. She’s already thinking about putting a deposit on a flat – apparently they have to do that about now to get one for next year. Bloody ridiculous.
And that’s it – that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Have a great Sunday – or what’s left of it.
There were a lot of words flying about yesterday, one way and another: first I went to the inaugural session of Sound Cafe, a new project for the homeless in Leicester which combines tea and cake with words and music (‘let them eat cake and listen to folk’?) This was very interesting: it took place in St Martin’s House, next to the Cathedral and a whole host of volunteers assembled themselves and urns of tea plus boxes of cake, for the beginning. Predictably, volunteers outnumbered punters, but it’s only the first session and a good number of people turned up to listen to a guitarist and singer play in the first half. I did a quick blast of poetry and we talked about encouraging people to share their poetry in future sessions. Then I had to leave as I had to dash home, make pizza, dash back to Wilco’s to pick up a couple of floor-lamps (don’t ask)* before whizzing home to put pizza in the oven, eat it, assemble lamps, argue with son, get on bus and go to town where I was due to perform.
Well! The evening was called ‘Women’s Words’ – it was downstairs in the Crumblin’ Cookie, which is a good venue for these sorts of things, being secluded and intimate – and we kicked off around eight with a singer. My only beef was that the first act went on way too long: if you’ve got four people – two musicians, two poets – you’d expect the musicians to play for about half an hour and the poets to do about 15 – 20 minutes. But the first act went on for nearly an hour, so I was a bit pissed off with that. Plus, it kind of buggered up my intro, because the way I usually pull people in is by doing a couple of comic verses before heading into the more serious stuff: but she had finished (like Phoebe Buffay, now that I think about it) with a song about her Mum dying, so that I really should have reorganised my set list and started with something more serious.
Aaaanyway, I will get paid for that, so all’s well that ends well. I was followed by a high, breathy and reverberating Polish woman whose music I enjoyed, and the evening finished with Jess Green, a well-known local poet. She’s always good value and does stunningly long and fast poems from memory.
And so to bed.
*actually do ask – especially if you know a good electrician
Not a bad day’s work today, considering. A bit of head-gnashing in the morning, then I fell into a website with some competitions coming up and it gave me new heart. I’m always a bit so-so about competitions: on the one hand the prizes can be really good – not only in terms of money but in terms of publication, contact with agents etc; on the other hand you have to pay to enter them. They don’t necessarily cost a lot – Cinammon’s are usually about £12 for a novel extract or poetry collection, less for a single poem or story – but it’s all money and I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve spent in that way over the last few years. However I found what I think I really need at the moment, which was a poetry pamphlet competition, only £10, closing date end of the month – and compiling poems for that kept me going most of the day. I then thought I’d better pick up my guitar and practise a little so that I can remember how to play on 23rd when I do the Spring workshop with Mike.
Do come along to this – it’s free, it’ll be great fun and there’s a performance in the evening (you don’t have to do this if you don’t want though)
And you can find info about all Cinammon Press’s competitions here:
Now: I need to speak to you very seriously and I require your full attention. OK? It has come to my attention recently that people are eating chorizo. Now, there is nothing wrong with eating chorizo. I myself, quite apart from being vegetarian, do not happen to like chorizo but that is no problem. The problem is this: chorizo is a Spanish sausage. It is NOT!!! Italian. Therefore it cannot under any circumstances be pronounced ‘chorit-so’. And EVEN IF IT WERE Italian, it would have to have TWO z’s – like ‘pizza’ before one could pronounce it in that way. So don’t let me ever, EVER catch you saying ‘chorit-so’. It’s ‘chori-tho’. With a ‘th’. All right? Or ‘choriso’ if you must. But not ever, NEVER, ‘chorit-so’. OK?
Left to right: Kate Hudson from National CND, old man who looks like Michael Foot, Mark, Jan – (in red holding the banner) and – erm, some others from Leicester CND plus onlookers.
Back home, we celebrated. Present were the three of us plus Peter, Stephen, Jan, Yvan and Claire. Also, back from Lifebeat – Holly! She brought with her a number of necklaces and bracelets that she’d made. I made pizza and salad and hoped that others would bring snacks. In fact everyone brought wine so we ended up with 2 bottles of rose, one of white, plus 2 wine boxes (one of which Steve had mauled in an attempt to wrestle it open) and half a bottle of red.
A good had was time by all, the pizza went down well and the plinth video generated a lot of interest. We watched another one of a woman in the middle of the night doing shadow puppets to an audience of one (a policeman). It is great to see what people come up with. And the best thing about this whole project is – it’s a celebrity-free zone!
Gormley for President.
And here I am doing a victory dance when I’d finished. Thanks to Peter for the photos.