Friday, April 07, 2006

I've been quite busy since I was last here. A quick and very short trip to Amsterdam, going by coach via York, a few hours there then back again. I visited the American Cafe and an Indonesian restaurant called Bojo's, walked around the canals, then caught the coach back; but a couple of nights on a ferry were very pleasant.

I've been reading a lot of novels: Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night, Martin Booth's penulitimate novel The Industry of Souls, and I've just started on John Murray's Murphy's Favourite Channels. The Martin Booth one left me feeling sad at the end - that I had to leave the company of the main character. He was Alexander Alanovich Bayliss, an Englishman who had been caught up in the Russion gulag for twenty years, but who stayed in Russia rather than come home. It was very well written - and there's some lovely incidents in it - of eating mammoth steak in the frozen tundra, for instance. I'm not sure it's even possible, but Martin Booth made it seem so while I was reading. It's published by the publishers Dewi Lewis in Stockport - another example of a small independent regional publisher picking up on a mid-list writer who really ought to be better known. The John Murray has already had me giggling on the Metro. Very funny.

I did a workshop on Wednesday in Bolton with the Bank Street Writers, where I talked about rhyme metre and free verse. Really nice people, and a good discussion. They asked what "prose poetry" was, which kind of stumped me because I don't know enough about it. I should probably look more into it.

Anyway, I sold some copies of Calling Myself On the Phone - all the ones I took in fact - and that's no bad thing.

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