The Son arrived home for a few days. He is currently based in Boston, USA, so his homecoming is an event. It’s an irritating fact about ‘events’ that they tend not to go quite as perfectly as you hoped. As you get older, you factor this in. Just take it as it comes, you say to yourself. Be relaxed. Minor organisational hiccups don’t matter a jot. It’s how YOU are that makes the visit happy or less happy. I always want to pass this advice on to women in bridal shops. Why on earth fuss your wedding up with things to go wrong? Who cares what colour the napkins are? Who really cares what you wear? The happiest days of your life come unexpectedly. You can’t order them like cinema tickets.
Anyhow, we didn’t fuss the visit weekend up, and as a result it was lovely from arrival to all-too-soon departure. Nothing spectacular was done. We sat about over dinner. We nodded off in front of the Burrell Collection documentary video. We found our way to Chatelherault park (we find finding things difficult, so this was high risk). We had a picnic in the car – egg sandwiches, coffee from a flask, shortbread, chocolate – entertained by a girl trying to load a reluctant horse into a lorry. Our sense of direction being a bit squiff, we went for a rather longer walk than anticipated. The miracle of absolute enjoyment in the ordinary moment.
Now the Son is gone. Some mothers like the continued sense of a child’s presence in a tumbled room. I’m not one of those. When any of the children visit, once the awful goodbye is done I rush to strip and remake the bed so that as soon as humanely possible, the room is prepared for the next visit. Looking forward sees me through. In the Son’s room, I also find the things he’s left behind. Even before he’s touched back down in Boston, I’m humming, with apologies to the Proclaimers
‘When you go will I send your phone charger to America?
You can search through your luggage but you will not find it there.’
I was going to post up more Sedition music today, but this is so lively that I can’t resist. Haydn is perfect for a spring Saturday. I’m gavotting with the hoover. How I love living at a time when my housework partner is Alexander Kobrin, one of the world’s top pianists.
This simple, gentle tune inspired Sedition. How? I don’t know. All I know is that it’s a perfect piece of music, and Alathea knows it, and so does Annie. It links us together: the author and two of her creations. So – here at last, lovely aria.
For the last busy fortnight, I’ve been full of writing vim and vigour. Other deadlines, bureaucracies, commitments, some delightful and others dementing, have had to take precedence. Today, there’s nothing between me and the novel I’m trying to write. I know its theme. I know its form (I think). But today, my study filled with spring light, the little dog sweetly curled up and other distractions and deadlines perfectly happy to ‘pend’, I find myself appalled at the prospect of actually writing. So here I am, dithering. All I’ve got to do is pull the novel up from the bottom bar of my Mac, and I know – or at least I think I know – its world will lure me in. I’ve got notes. I’ve got thoughts. But not for nothing is a novel called a ‘novel’. A novel should be new, not so much in story – there are, as we all know, a limited number of plot arcs – but each succeeding novel should propel the writer into slightly (for the writer) unchartered waters. To forge through new water requires courage and today I have none. Today I’m a coward, and cowards don’t make good writers.
Yet I don’t want to waste the day, so my lack of courage and my horror of waste are currently battling it out. Bang, wallop, bang. And crash! It’s battle over. I am going to write. This isn’t because courage has suddenly returned. I’m going to write because staring right up at me is that lovely thing known as the delete button. I can write and not write. A perfectly cowardly solution for the perfectly cowardly coward.
Blood Red Horse will be included in the March Big Deal Kindle promotion from the 14th-30th March. During this time, the e-book will be priced at $1.99. Grab it quick and meet Hosanna, the blood red horse of the title. First books and first characters are like first loves: they have a special place in your heart. That’s Blood Red Horse and Hosanna for me. Hey, Hosanna. I think of you so often.
A little snippet from a splendid long review in Booklist:
“A thumping debut filled with sex, manipulation and a dash of romance. Wickedly dark and provocative, Sedition is a bold reminder that the thirst for power and status remains unquenched over the ages.”
Sedition’s also a Top-10 pick for April, and will be included in the Top-10 e-newsletter.
Thank you, Booklist.
My girls and I are dancing this morning, perhaps to the speedy ones of these, with which Everina tries to impress Monsieur.