I've been spring-cleaning the flat. We've lived here for 7 years - wow - we only planned to stay for 2. We like it. It's in the centre of the city on one of the busiest streets for boozing - but somehow we don't get a lot of noise. We do pass piles of sick on our way to work in the morning (mustabeen a good night, I always think to myself) and the odd trail of blood (which always fascinates me, some go on for ages, and I can't look up til I've found the end, or the start). And it's just a little walk away from the river, so although we don't have a garden, on a day like today we can go and sit and have some sunshine. I usually take a flask of coffee and a mug to pour it into. Nothing as nice as holding a mug outside.
Oh yeah, so my point is that we've lived here a while and so we've accumulated stuff. It's been good to sort through things, and decide what to do with the things that aren't to be thrown away, but might have some life in them elsewhere. There's the usual charity shop pile, but I've also donated a load of books to the staffroom where I work, and taken 30 or so bottles of shower gel to a homeless shelter, and will be dropping off some never-used art materials to the children's hospital next week. There is something nice about being specific, seeking out the places that might directly benefit from the things we don't need anymore. And there is a lighter feeling in the flat, and I feel better about that.
It does mean I haven't written as much this week, but I don't want to think of the de-cluttering as displacement. I'm certain it'll be playing a part in some positive way.
I missed the deadline of the Bristol Prize because I added an extra day into the month.
I D I O T.
I enjoyed reading about Reb Alexander's route to getting an agent.
And I've just been catching up with Vanessa Gebbie's blog-tour-in-progress to celebrate the publication of The Coward's Tale. I enjoyed Claire King's post which is a 3-way interview with Claire, Vanessa and Trâm-Anh Doan (Bloomsbury's paperback editor). Also Jonathan Pinnock's interview with Vanessa includes some encouraging information on Vanessa's writing process, and tells a little about one of the story's inspirations, 7-year old Robert Diplock and his Mum, Rita. Fascinating, and touching, especially if you've read the novel. I finished it a couple of weeks ago, and it's beautiful.
Which leads me to...
I'll be hosting Vanessa here on Thursday (April 5th). I've been thinking a lot about letters lately, letters to yourself, to people in your past, your childhood home, so I asked Vanessa to do something a little different to being interviewed. Come and see the fantastic result on Thursday, and there's a chance to win a copy of The Coward's Tale too.