Sunday, August 10, 2008

Clouds in the hills and a story on the radio, maybe

Oh dear, this is turning into a blog about the ruddy internet. So OK, I got a better mobile broadband, and yes, it does work from the house here, but not when the weather is bad! And has the weather been bad up here in the hills! Here from the upstairs window where I sit at my laptop I should see a blue ridge of hills but all I can see most days is the cloud we’re sitting in the middle of, and the very nearby ash trees flinging themselves around with the kind of anguish I feel every time I try to connect up.

However, sometimes it happens and I find myself thinking what a miracle the internet is, instead of taking it for granted as we’ve all learnt to do in the past few years. Still, it can take several minutes – now and then 10! - to navigate between web pages, so I may not be very good on links, I’m afraid.

So anyway, I got an email through to my publisher Jen at Salt to tell her about my Raymond Carver win, and the next time I managed to hook up there was a reply from her telling me that my story ‘The Way to Behave’ is to be broadcast on Radio 4’s afternoon slot sometime in the autumn, probably in September – that is, if she received my answer giving the go-ahead: too many of my emails have been bouncing back! ‘The Way to Behave’ is one of the stories collected in Balancing, and it was originally commissioned for the Bitch Lit anthology (Crocus) with which we had great fun doing a series of readings dressed in character, since most of the stories, TWTB included, were dramatic monologues. TWTB is the story of a wronged wife, the narrator, who finds an unusual way of taking revenge, and is one of my naughty swipes at the abuses of feminism by so-called feminists. (My Aunty Phyllis read Balancing recently and pronounced TWTB her favourite in the whole book, so maybe I should be worried: but no, Phyllis was a WAAF in the war, and she’s pretty switched on about female power.) To read my character for the Bitch Lit tour, I dressed up, as she does in the story, as a vamp: red high heels, red nails, bright lipstick and dark wig, and when my mother and sister came to the reading we did at Sheffield, they sat there as the reading started wondering where I had got to, and didn’t realize I was me until I began reading! TWTB is one of the more conventional stories in Balancing, and so I suppose well suited to radio.

I haven’t been feeling very literary, though. Writing’s on hold as I’ve been too busy helping out with the work on this old family house, which was started two years ago, but is only ever done in people’s spare time, mostly in the summer. And do I really want to start writing a blog about lime plastering and woodworm?

Although, actually, a damned enticing story came to me the other night in the pub down by the straits…

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