I ran for the bus. John Elliott was on it, remarking my athleticism which I did not overdo by immediately breathing normally. Back from Devon, he went on to drop off baggage first.
The key wouldn’t turn in the lock. Steve couldn’t turn it either. Nor Catherine but she noticed the key wasn’t fully in. I forced it in. The lock cried rape. The key turned and we were in, three bottles of wine on the table. “We kept you some,” I said to the dipso John when he joined us as I was finishing my tale of the night before of Leslie, my neighbour’s, duple assault for which he’s been charged. Kevin missed out on this by coming late, as usual.
Steve was as usual flattering but the others agreed with John there was a lack of differentiation in my dialogue between Mum’s and Johnny’s. Since the dialogue is exact replication of what was spoken at the time, the criticism is invalid but if they can’t see it they can’t, probably because they take the inauthentic as true. Steve’s short story was on betting. The old better had worked out there was twelve pounds short. I didn’t see this meant her son-in-law wasn’t putting on her bets for her. John displayed his gambling expertise. I said I was too tired from the night before but couldn’t distinguish between Kevin’s characters from the sameness of the verbal tics they used. There’s no point criticising my dialogue when the critics’ are worse, or, in Kevin’s case, my word play when he plays with words himself and his play so much cruder.
John handed his book over to Catherine to be read from. She read almost inaudibly and with great difficulty. It was the most excruciating experience I’ve ever had in the WG and part of its excruciatingness was it went interminably on. It served John right, of course. He gave me a way to remark this rock in the room tactfully by priding himself on the self-containedness of his fiction, so I was able to ask Catherine if her difficulty understanding (what I’d considered anybody could read) was the self-containedness of her own understanding coming up against his. The answer may have been yes. The only clue anybody else had found the experience bad was Kevin’s asking Catherine had she anything to read and did we have time for it. Comment on John’s piece was thus reduced to practically nil.
Catherine is quite experimental and had a poem and radio play. We went for the play and completely forgot about the poem. I read out one part and Catherine the other though we both tackled other parts as they occurred. Catherine’s difficulty would seem to be that of acting out what’s written by investing it with more meaning from tone eg her sister part was sweet and soft but the bitchiness wasn’t coming over as it would from a too sweet, false tone. John was scathing.
Kevin offered me a ride home. He didn’t come up. I was not long back when John complained I hadn’t been welcoming of him and that’s why he’d cried earlier on the lavatory pan. He cited my expressive response to his cliched assumption if there were strawberries there’d be cream though for reasons of cholesterol reduction I don’t ever have cream. A spat developed. I told him to hull the strawberries himself and dumped down a yoghurt to go with them since it was too late for me to be bothered and I wanted to go to bed once I’d calmed down. The sex was good.