Joined by John the Old, Jacqui, John the New and Kevin, after gossip, I began with John the Prison’s poems. None laughed at ‘ever so rare’. Old John thought the poems derivative but wouldn’t go so far as to say they’d a shakespearian tone. Jacqui liked the differences among them. There were three with elucidating passages from his letters.
New John read out the ‘Jockey’ about two men from a magazine publisher who take breaks together, one a Chilean alcoholic who maladroitly advises the other on what mares to ride now he’s fallen off the horse of marriage. It probably does need some underlying drive between the characters to whip it competitively along though hard to say of an extract out of an as yet undetemined context.
I felt remiss for not going to Kevin’s publishing thing especially since Quentin had gone. Old John had been waiting for details of where held. Retrospectively I hadn’t gone because having three publishers already was quite enough for me. Kevin read a rhapsodic careen by a truck through an Irish town a la Dylan Thomas though the character being monitored by the writer was German.
John had nothing to read and said I read his writing wrongly, disabusing me of the thought I’m a good sight reader. Ah well.
Jacqui’s been editing her political novel for publication and started at the beginning again. Until she got to the introduction of her second main character, I was finding it less interesting than New John’s, but then I had heard most of it before and was unsure of the novel insertions. Old John, however, thought it masterly.
An inordinate amount of time was spent on my reading of that part of ‘the book’ where it’s fracturing and breaks eg Johnny realises he’s imputing to Mum the word, Minotaur, she hadn’t used and he wouldn’t know, the man leaves Johnny in despair, etc. Kevin didn’t like its breaking at all, the first time it had. Old John, accepting I was more interested in truth than the reader, thought the break should’ve been bigger. It hardly could without the insertion of Snowhite (sic) and the Psychopathic Dwarf, the case occurring in the actual break (rather too long a short story to let the reader resume easily – and they say I don’t consider the reader!) but what’s in the break can be changed. What can’t is the break itself. It’s part of the intrinsic structure. I could make a footnote. I’m thinking of a footnote anyway at the end, taken from CORRESPONDENCE to bookend with Mum’s reference to ‘the book’.
Old John was sorry if he’d upset me by saying he’d never buy ‘the book’ which has made it all but impossible for me to buy his, on principle. I hadn’t been upset. I was home by half eleven and watched the episode of Vampire Diaries (I’d set the machine to record while I was out) before bed.