Here is the link to my BBC Radio interview today, 24th June. You can only listen to this for one week from that date. I am discussing my novel ‘A Bird in the House’ with Joe Talbot and my experiences in Libya during February 2011. The interview starts at 02.39.
I thought I might write about what I am reading but I cannot write reviews. This is not my forte. All I can write about is the sky and the birds and things falling. In fact, ‘The Sound of Things Falling’ is the title of a book by Juan Gabriel Vasquez I read recently and a marvellous book it is although I will not say more than that it is set in Columbia during the notorious drugs wars and that it might be a book for you to read. Or you could read Rene Denfeld’s book, ‘The Enchanted’ which is about a man on death row. Depressing, you might think. Indeed not. It is enchanted. Like an old fishing hut. This is what books are for. For us to journey to both nightmare and enchantment.
My first novel came out this week. It’s exciting to hold a copy in my hand and to think how long it took me to get there. It has, at times, felt as if I have been running a marathon for the past two years. Now it is out, another hard slog begins…the dreaded publicity and marketing. Really I’d like to wander off to another desert and forget about that side of things but that would be a pity. It’s a necessary job if I want the book to sell. A necessary job like the ironing – another task I tend to put off until I have almost nothing left to wear but socks and knickers (surely no one irons those!). So, the novel….it’s written, it’s published…it now needs a little TLC….and then there’s the next one to write….
Time. There’s never enough of it. That’s probably because life is too full of distractions. Or perhaps I simply have no energy at the moment for anything big. When I do snatch a few moments of peace I like to sit and observe the world and write flash fiction – or perhaps these should be called prose haikus – they can be read in a flash but I hope they linger in the mind
What I remember of the walk in Suffolk is this: black tree roots like the gnarled old fingers of lost giants, a broken silver birch fallen into a ditch, many reeds and sweet blackberries and the ground sandy-soft. I have forgotten the pain in my back and the irritations of paths wrongly taken.
I wonder if I might try to sleep, if I am tired enough. My eyes are heavy but I do not think my mind will let me sleep just yet. It is restless like a stone at the ocean’s edge, continually rolling back and forth and knocking against other stones.
The things I’m interested in – stones, chapels, fish and hanging upside down.