Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Doctors and witches

Well, it's festival time again. Once again I'm reading at the The Didsbury Arts Festival - this time from the reissued The Birth Machine (which wasn't out and available by the time of the festival last year) - and holding a discussion about the issues. I did think of talking about the difference between the two versions of the book (as discussed in the Author's Note which can be read here), but decided that, in a festival of general arts, people would be more interested in the issues the book tackles than such more literary matters, but of course I'll talk about it if it comes up and people are interested.

So I've just spent the morning distributing the above poster and leaflets. Once again it's funny to be out and about at the shops and cafes in mid-morning rather than at my desk (or, if I'm in Wales, high up a wild mountain). I saw a friend I hadn't seen for years - a fellow attendee at the old Waterstone's readings - and stood talking for about half an hour to another (the leafleting took me ages!) who told me several stories that I couldn't help finding inspiration. It really made me think about the paradox of the writers' life: of how, shut away on long projects with your writing, you are also shut away from the very things that feed it. Plus: could I have done that, spent the morning trawling from venue to venue with my publicity if I were teaching full-time? Of course not. Could I have done it if I had been immersed in a writing project or on a deadline? No way: I probably wouldn't have had the headspace, leave alone the time. As I say, the paradoxes of the writer's life...

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