Seaweed (smellingbottle) wrote,
Seaweed
smellingbottle

interruptions and fictional vengeances


 

I had today earmarked for a short, sharp half-day of current chapter rewrites, followed by a bath with lavender oil and a new novel (Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army), before meeting for dinner a friend who has again emerged from a psychiatric hospital, and seems admirably sanguine about life. But I. is currently hiding out at home with his phone off (ongoing complex work situation, business bandits in pinstripes) and pacing our creaky floorboards in his socks, and our friend H arrived last night from Switzerland to look for a place to live, and keeps pattering in and out in a wet coat clutching an A to Z and asking how to get to Camden Town. Meanwhile, I’m quietly clutching my head at my desk. My work territory is being trespassed on (by two people, one of whom I adore with the loves of all the ages etc etc. and the other who is a very dear friend, who are falling over themselves to be unobtrusive) and I’m going black in the face from not saying ‘I am currently only interested in my book – go far away, immediately.’ The fact that I. has hung on my door a present from French friends years ago – a wood sign that says ‘J’ESSAIE DE TRAVAILLER’ – suggests I am not hiding this well. I put it down to the fact that I never had anywhere to study when I was at school – our house was tiny, the kitchen table always full of meals and small children, and I did my homework lying on my lower bunk until the year I left school, when my grandfather died and I inherited his room. I don’t suppose Woolf figured in armed guards into her ideas about the necessity for a room of one’s own…

 

Amused and pleased by an e-mail from another friend, who has just sold her first novel to a good publisher, and was sent a rather lovely first mock-up of the cover this morning. It contains possibly actionable – and definitely recognisable – portraits of her parents, in-laws, and the senior common room of her former Oxford college, but I am remaining silent on the matter. Partly because they all deserve it, partly because my own ongoing affair (which I’m now effortfully neglecting until the current (academic) chapter is finally in its coffin with a stake through its time-consuming evil heart) features a vitriolic version of an appalling, needy, grabby woman I knew in our student days –  the kind of woman who watches the cutting of every cake with her forehead already creased with shrill, pre-emptive self-assertion because if she doesn't stand up for herself, she will have to spend her whole life knowing that someone else got her slice of Bakewell tart.

 

So I’ve written her as a hopeless, vulgar fille de joie and given her the clap.  I may kill her off in a parenthesis.

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