Disappearances, Delaneys and a Dibley moment

Book news:

Today at Vulpes Libris, you can read my review of the always marvellous though sadly underrated Clare Morrall’s The Man Who Disappeared. Really, she’s superb. If you read nothing else this year, try a Morrall novel – they’re great.

I’m also thrilled to announce that I’ve somehow reached the 50,000 word marker of The Executioner’s Cane, earlier than anticipated even. Hurrah! That neatly rounds off the first third of the book, which I’ve entitled Faith. Now on to my second section, which will be entitled Hope. No prizes as to guessing the title of the third and final section, though I do hope the final two parts will be smaller that the first one – otherwise I’ll still be writing the damn thing in my bath chair, scary thought. Will those pesky Gathandrians ever really let me go?? Time will tell … Or, as they would put it, the time-cycle will tell. Lordy, but I’m starting to talk like them too, by the gods and stars. Hey ho.

Chart & review news this week: The Secret Thoughts of Leaves found itself staying happily in the Amazon Kindle Surrealism charts, currently at Number 41; whereas The Delaneys and Me kept in the Amazon Kindle Gay Fiction charts, drifting merrily between Number 50 and Number 80. I was also very  happy indeed with a lovely and thorough review of Martin and The Wolf at the Obsidian Bookshelf by Val Kovalin who recommends the book, saying: This gracefully written story handles the novelette length just fine, delivering an absorbing opposites-attract story warmed by understated humor. Many thanks indeed, Val!

Meanwhile, I’ve sent the galley proofs of The Boilerman and The Bride back to Amber Heat Press, ready for publication this Sunday, 4 July. And my biblical short story about the wife of Moses, Little Bird, has been accepted for publication by Pages of Stories ezine, well gosh!

There’s also great news for one of my publishers, Untreed Reads, and all their readers, as you can now benefit from a new loyalty discount pass, called the GreenPass – so you can get great reads (including my own) at cut prices all year round and save the environment too. What could be nicer!

Surprisingly, there’s been rather a lot of poetry around this week, which has been fun, mainly focused on art inspired by the glorious pictures in the latest Art Fund catalogue, plus the meditation poems as well. Here they all are, the art series first:

Red Stripe by Rachael Woodman
Tall blue pipes
protect their crimson treasure,
fluting invisible song
as a barrier
in the quiet air

while the blood
and the life
run free.

Sleepers by Yto Barrada
I lie on black and white grass
in a black and white world.
A human zebra
on an empty plain.

No-one notices me
and pale despair
covers my face.

You might hear my breathing
if you listen.

Purple Blue, Arno, Erlauf by Jenny Holzer
I watch you
I bury you
deep in blue

ancient, legendary
the shadow
at the centre

of things:
deep in blue
I bury you

I watch you.

Nearly Untitled
Seven and Seven is
or Sunshine Bathed
the Golden Glow
by Jim Lambie

is a riot of chairs
glittered with mirrors
on handbags

or just how
I envisage
my life.

Meditation 375
When God’s mercy
means seventy thousand people die

perhaps you’re better off
with man’s judgement.

Meditation 376
The consolations
of old age
for kings

are blankets
and the beauty
of women,

proving once more
that what counts
is money.

Meditation 377
Everywhere I look
men are jostling
for position
hungry for power

when all that is needed
is to stop
breathe
and listen.

Life News:

Phew, we’re at this section at last then. Not much to report in terms of life this week, you’ll possibly be heartened to hear. Though I must say that the glorious rain we had early in the week was delightful in every way and I spent long moments before going to work simply looking at it and breathing in that wonderful smell. Delicious. I hope there’ll be some more soon.

And this week’s Vicar of Dibley moment just had to be at our local bible study group, which is filled with really decent and lovely people – so Lord alone knows what the hell I’m doing there … Anyway, Woman X was explaining to the vicar why dog-loving Woman Y wasn’t there and conveying her apologies, when she came out with the glorious statement: yes, she can’t be here as she’s off dogging, as usual. My dears, I had to breathe deeply and bury my nose in my bible in order to avoid running hysterically from the room. I don’t think anyone else but me (and the vicar, I’m sure) picked up on it, but it truly goes to show how very corrupt I (and possibly the vicar) actually am, and how everyone else will most certainly get to heaven before me. Though, on the other hand, perhaps that’s what every other parishioner not in the bible group was actually up to, and good luck to them indeed! – this is Surrey, after all …

But, talking of TV vicars, I must draw your attention to the funny, realistic, non-cliched and deeply heartening series, Rev, on BBC2 Mondays 10pm. In Episode One, it knocked into definite touch all the achingly bad and shallow versions of TV vicardom we’ve had to endure over the years, sigh, (with the exception of the Vicar of Dibley) of course – and great points must go to it for that pub scene at the end where the put-upon vicar quietly but firmly stood up for his principles after huge pressure not to do so. It was perfectly pitched and very true. Nice one. I hope the rest of the series lives up to that standard and doesn’t go on to shortchange us Christians out of our actual humanity, as many series do.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal

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4 responses to “Disappearances, Delaneys and a Dibley moment

  1. Hi AnneJust had hysterics after reading about the 'dogging' comment. Poor woman, obviously didn't have a clue what she'd said – I bet some interesting images were crowding into your mind!!!Peter's just been telling me this story:A lord Mayor was left redcheeked after his trousers fell down in front of hundreds of school children.When Colin Hall, 46, stood up to thank the organisers of a library show on Tuesday, his pants dropped to his ankles.Pupils from three local schools were present, along with education chiefs and several teachers.Cllr Hall, Lord Mayor of Leicester, said yesterday: "Unfortunately, I'd chosen not to wear a belt and the trousers came loose and fell.Life is full of wonderful bizarre happenings…

  2. Ohhh I say, well done, that's a massive number of words, I know cuz it's already taken me 5 mins to do this comment and that's only 27!More nice reviews, always good and I loved that dogging quote from the bible studies. I don't know how you managed to not collapse in a heaving giggling heap on the floor. Naughty vicar too!

  3. Tee hee, how embarrassing, poor chap!!!! Redcheeked indeed!! :)) Axxx

  4. You're much more thorough than I am, Jason!! And I didn't dare look at anyone!! :)) Axxx

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