I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Sunday, 6 July 2014


Next month I'll be seventy-nine. After that, who knows? If being seventy-plus is to be enfeebled, being eighty-plus inevitably directs my mind towards higher things: should I or should I not add one of Strauss's Four Last Songs to the valedictory programme?

I haven’t blogged recently about the novel, the present one, Second Hand.  Instead I've written thousands of words of comment for others' blogs, revelling in that privileged community. I launched Joe's Nudge, frequently discovering I'd bitten off more than I could chew. The novel lurked.

The draft stood at 58,000 words. I checked what I had and the subsequent editing came perilously close to a rewrite, with 5000 words blowing away like chaff. Three weeks ago I resumed the story. Francine, tough-minded, tortured, transmogrified,  returned. As always it's the hair that counts; hers is loose floppy blonde, flat to her head, can't be styled. (Blonder and flatter than the pic; with a less knowing face).

Re-starting brought that terrifying moment; imagination is an infrequent visitor and may not call at all. No guarantees. A week in I wrote:

He laughed, poured her some more Burgundy. Both had ordered fish but had merely haggled what was on their plates. The restaurant was expensive and modern, in the heartless straight-line style. The waiters were expert, sympathetic and young, with open-necked shirts and rolled-up sleeves, and they were smiling at a minor dilemma – at what point would the ruined fish cease to be part of the meal and demand removal?

It's not Molly Bloom's soliloquy. Or Robert Jordan in his chancre of a hill. Or the funeral of old Mr Crouchback. What pleases me is when I started that para, I couldn’t see the end. A muffler and slippers against being eighty.


  1. In anticipation of your upcoming birth anniversary, I wish you many happy, healthy, active returns - and the much wider readership that your writing richly deserves.

    Thank you for being a friend.

  2. I'll be eighty before you and am allowing myself to say "at the point where their eyes lock like two magnets, their voices become hoarse and begin to tremble, when nor wine nor water can put out the fire burning within them, when unable to control their trembling body, when they leave money on the table enough to cover twice what they consumed, they walk out in a daze.
    I'm not sure if I am fantasizing

    or remembering or just having fun.

  3. Ok, now what peculiarly bizarre behaviour is one of them about to exhibit?

  4. In your prime as a writer.

  5. Crow: Small but select is how I typify the readership. Still struggling to commission an appropriate front cover for Out Of Arizona - so that, among other things, your contributions may see the light of day.

    I was going to say "old friend" but stopped when I recognised the slipperiness of the adjective. The phrase's primary meaning is not "a friend who is old" but "a friend who's been a friend for a long time". I can't claim the latter, only that it's been a rewarding experience for me. As for you I think you argue better than you used to.

    Ellena: Good grief, I'm writing about Brits.These are not Brits they're Slavs. But never mind. I appreciate your stylish playfulness. Always have.

    Stella: A beautiful example of how a reader's point of view differs from that of the author. There was I, smugly contemplating something workmanlike (I hoped); there was you concerned only with the story. In fact this is the prelude to change yet, as I mentioned to Ellena, these are Brits and the change may be undetectable to those who are five hours behind.

    MikeM: If that's true then it's been a damn long time coming. But thanks anyway.