Despite the snow earlier in March, I managed to get up to Faber for an evening with Wendy Cope. Amazing how a big glass of wine and convivial company can make all the difference, and on top of that the delightful Wendy Cope, launching her new poetry collection. ‘Anecdotal Evidence,’
There she was having come all the way from Ely spilling the beans about reaching 70, in her own inimitable style’ reading some of her new poems, including a few sonnets.
Meeting her and hearing her read cheered my spirits so much, I bought two copies of her book, one for me and one for a friend.
A few days later the rooks were busy building their nests in the Dene nearby. Far too big for their boots, staggering up to their new abodes with overlong twigs happy to play at clowns trying to get them through the branches to their new homes.
The Beach Hut Writing Academy Conference at the Friends Centre in Brighton came next. This is a group of professional writers, teachers and/or mentors which includes bestselling novelists and non-fiction writers.
Julie Cohen talked about her latest book ‘together’ giving us a lively presentation on planning a novel with the aid of post-it notes. Highly original and fun as we were all given a tiny pack of post-its to try the format out right there and then. This, she insists, is how she negotiates the key elements and characters in her new books.
There followed a range of workshops, talks by authors and agents, wonderful food and time to network. The authors involved sold quite a lot of books from the ‘pop up’ Waterstones and we were also given a goody bag with two mags. and a book from the selection available.
A ten minute pitch with an agent was part of the deal and I guess some got lucky! I was not one of them unfortunately. Not helped by having chosen who I thought might be the most appropriate one from details online. When I heard them speak on the various panels, I was pretty sure I had chosen the wrong one and would be wasting her time!
Not only that but my carefully constructed 100 word pitch allowance sent in advance had been devoured by my computer the previous day never to surface again.
Luckily the agent was warm and friendly and had her copy of my pitch in front of her. I couldn’t admit I had lost mine, so muddled along for my allocated 10 minutes unfortunately talking far too much rather than listening!
All this was not helped by the fact I was one of the last group so around us people were discussing train times and going home! Nevertheless I got a patient response and three pieces of good advice for which I was and still am grateful.
But by the next day I was feeling more cheerful. A close relative had come through a serious operation and signs of Spring were in evidence.
The cherry tree is in bloom and the Forsythia just starting to sprout.
Decided it must be time for another major clear out! So piled up another 100 or so books and started to sort through them, stopping to read bits and pieces as I went along of course. But then a whole range of neater book shelves.
Must now decide on the order for my writing projects; finish the memoir, or the new poetry pamphlet or complete the picture/poetry for children?
A question of spring cleaning the brain?
As long as I don’t resort to finishing another butterfly tapestry all will be well.
In the meantime made pencil puppets with the little girl next door, what it is to be full of enthusiasm for something so simple!