I was joined by Jacqui whose political novel is with an editor who hasn’t as yet made suggestions for her to rewrite on, so Jacqui’s doing bits and pieces of other things, one of which might end up as another novel. I gave her a tumbler of red. She’d brought a Spanish. We were joined by Steve with a white.
The very lengthy hiatus in the publishing of CORRESPONDENCE, combined with my blocked blogs on the publisher’s site, was touched on. Jacqui went off piste with a small gay publisher’s most detailed contract as compared with her own publisher’s lackadaisacal one she was more comfortable with. I’m even more relaxed than Jacqui. Steve asked did I have a contract, to see if the book could be made available to another publisher if not being published by the present one. There was a contract over the internet I’d acknowledged the same way which he thought might hold but it, so far as I can recall, presumed publication.
Kevin came in with a red. Since John Elliott wasn’t there we were unlikely to get through four bottles.
I started us off with the three quasi poems Yvann had dictated to me since he himself writes like a six year old. Steve was taken with the reference to Spock’s brain from the worst Star Trek. Catherine, also with a red, was too late for the reading and couldn’t decipher my handwriting which had had to be fast. I followed with a reading from ‘the book’ in which Johnny’s manipulating his friend Sheila for her own good ie protection from abuse into telling the truth with the psychological lever it’d make life more difficult for her mother. He suspects the communication is too fast to be vocal but fails to prove it’s not, by watching whether her lips move because he forgets to. The reader can know it’s telepathy from the lack of inverted speech commas and different fonts, and learn from the text it’s faster than conscious communication. Catherine asked if the man was involved since she’d looked for and couldn’t see any italicised insertions. There’s no direct intervention in this scene but he’d be informing Johnny, and Sheila, since there couldn’t be unconscious communication except by his spiritual agency. Catherine was confused by the first half but liked the drive of the second. I’d myself much enjoyed reading all of it as I do.
Steve followed on from his last reading with the boy on his bike binge shopping for his mother and not getting sugar which had already been snapped up during a Seventies scare when the country was seizing up which Kevin said, from a book he’d read, was an idea promoted by the authorities for their own political ends whereas when the country is seizing up as now they say nothing. What a cynic. As if politicians would. As if authors wouldn’t say they do to sell a book. Tch.
Kevin had a sliver from his Irish novel where Niamh is overhearing what men intend to do with Mary, her friend, through a crack in the door. I suggested she describe what the crack shows of the room in the first place since she she seems to be seeing as if she were in it and subject to the men’s view.
We combine the reading-outs with ourselves reading print-outs except that Catherine read from her laptop a longish piece she thinks might be part of a novel: about an uncouth organic farmer, Stefan, at a parents meeting where he uses shocking intensifiers in confrontation with an unorganic, rich, GM farmer who hasn’t dug his nails in the soil for the past hundred years but Stefan is soothed at the hands of a female teacher he fancies and led by her away. Catherine’s writing’s versatile in its use of diverse forms.
Jacqui read that part of her political novel to do with the erstwhile topic of justice since her heroine, an unlikely US senator given to truth, throws away her re-election on a call for justice for the dispossessed people of Diego Garcia which would be of no possible interest to an American electorate or much to an American reader. I suggested since the senator was showing understanding how another politician could have got himself into a ruinous scandal, she could herself have been induced psychologically into throwing her re-election for love of another character with a more personal interest in justice for the dispossessed. The lacquered surface of the senator and Jacqui’s narrative would benefit from cracks. I also had doubts about her broken sentences (trusting there is no inherent contradiction here), wondering if John Elliott didn’t also do that, especially the one I didn’t know went with the preceding or succeeding sentence, the sense altering depending. I could see why she and John are sympathetic to each other on the basis of writing which has narrative conventions in common.
We covered everybody’s in less than three hours and got through almost two bottles. Kevin drove me home in time for True Blood and for me to hear my John’s got himself a job. He’s going to come to the next meeting.