Dear blogging friends, just a notice of a brief period of absence here at the Reading Room. I’m writing another chapter of my academic book and much as I dearly wish they would, formal writing and blogging just don’t seem to mix for me. I’ll be back Friday, or Saturday at the latest, and something similar may have to happen next week. My husband has been longing to recreate the conditions under which Colette wrote: she was locked into her room and only allowed out when the requisite number of pages had been pushed under the door. This was when she worked for her first husband, Willy, who ran a writing factory (and may well be one of the many reasons why she divorced him). My husband, who is trained in all kinds of new fangled production processes would love to exert the power of agile and/or lean manufacturing on me. Alas, my word manufacturing processes involve a lot of staring into space and going to find snacks. Neither lean, nor agile, then. I’ll leave you with a couple of items; the first is the six-word memoir which I heard about this morning, as a development of Hemingway’s six-word novel. Apparently there’s a book of them recently published, which came out of this contest here. There are some very good ones. I particularly liked ‘Saviour complex makes for many disappointments’ and ‘Wealthy woman escapes with handsome mailman’. Inevitably I had to attempt my own, which ended up (so far) as: ‘Reading, writing, loving, in various permutations.’ My husband’s was ‘What, now? I’ll do it later.’ I rather liked that but felt that the word count was the key. Had he been asked for 15 words he would have said, ‘Who do you think I am? Tolstoy?’ (and no, that’s a retort, not a six word memoir). If anyone fancies leaving one in the comments, I will be very impressed.
I’m very into simple, direct poetry at the moment. I’d leave more Neruda, but I can’t decide which bit. So instead, here’s something by Sophie Hannah, whom I admire. Have a wonderful rest of the week, full of lovely reading!
He sat in the under-heated flat, alone,
Usefully passing time (he thought by choice),
Not missing anything, until the phone,
Brought him the soft companion of your voice,
And then he looked around himself and saw,
The scraps of clothing on the floor, in shreds,
And felt his keys hang heavy in the door.
He thought of powdered milk and single beds.
Unsure of him, you said, ‘It’s only me,’
Meaning not quite enough, but you were right:
Yours was the only face he hoped to see
And only you remembered him tonight.