Things have been a little hectic over the last few months, to say the least.
It was my birthday in June as well as my sisters, and my moms -this means lots of food, lots of drink , hazy mornings and irrgular bowel movements. I actually forgot about my birthday because of what was happening in July...I got married to my girlfriend of eleven years. We headed out to Rome and then Florence for the honey moon- Caravaggio, sweltering heat, The Ascension of Christ, Duomo's, headless statues, red wine, pasta, veal, suckling pig, St Peters, Ennio Morricone played out in The Vatican, stories of Frank Sinatra drinking dry a hotel, The Trevi fountain, Keats' death bed and death mask, and did I say there was a heat wave?
Rome is a huge, open aired museum full of Japanese and Americans , roaming round in packs taking pictures of everything and anythig - people moan about this aspect of the city. Thankfully I do have the knack of blocking the crowds out. It's like being at the theatre - you don't worry that the auditorium is full when you're engrossed in the play. Ancient Rome gave the world a lot of significant components for the way we live our lives today - the place has, and will always be busy.
Although, it seems amazing that the empire lasted as long as it did with the amount of rumpy pumpy, murder and mastication that went on. Death was around every corner of those dark, sticky streets, over run with soldiers, politicians, and prostitutes living for honour and glory. The levels of decadence were hilariously high. After feasting on larks tongues and donkey gullets, your average Roman would drink till he was sick, insult his best friend and either end up dead or victorious and friendless. I particularly loved Nero's marble bath in The Vatican museum- a shiny, purple, marble basin the size of a swimming pool raised six feet off the ground that could have fitted at least twenty other bathers in there. One suspects that getting clean wasn't always the modus operandi...
And on that note...I joined the Tindal Street Ficion Group.
Tindal was set up around twenty years ago by Alan Mahar , the writer and head of the wonderful Tindal Street Press , as a place for writers in Birmingham to read out and discuss their work. Over the years it has seen some great writers pass though its doors ,such as Catherine O' Flynn, Clare Morrall, Gaynor Arnold and the short story writer Alan Beard. Alan and Gaynor are still members and the current crop of writers is pretty shiny and wonderful too. It's great to be surrounded by people who are concerned about the craft of writing , as much as it is having a drink with them down the pub after. I've learnt loads already.
So, after a couple of turbulent and life changing months it's back to work.
"27" is being sent out to agents as you read this and I sit everyday clicking my inbox at ten minute intervals hoping for a reply. The rest of the time is spent polishing the book, jotting down ideas for the next one and hoping that one of these ideas will stick....