Monday, March 07, 2005

Red Shoes and Pilgrim Jewelry

The first thing the audience notices when Deborah Moggach and Jennifer Johnston come on stage is that they're both wearing red shoes.

Not subtle, dark red pumps, but bright scarlet, 'F*ck Off Red' shoes.

There is something like a whispered cheer from the largely female audience. Laughing, I write Red Shoes and Pilgrim Jewellery! Hooray! in my notebook.

Pilgrim is my current accessory obsession, and Deborah seems to be wearing, if not actually one of their necklaces, then certainly one in their style. I approve.

Jennifer is first up - and the point that sticks from her talk is when she tells us about her first meeting with a publisher. He sat there, in a powder blue suit, asked questions she didn't know the answer to (why do you write?) and then said, It's a... an okay book, Jennifer, but we're a publishing house. We're not here to do people favours. I don't think you'll ever write another book.

As a writer, however lowly and unpubbed, I squirmed in my seat imaginging the humiliation and rage such a comment would induce. Jennifer said, That got my blood up - because you've got to get your blood up as a writer.

And she's right. We've got to be determined, committed, focused... but above all downright stubborn.

I can do stubborn. ;-)

Deborah goes straight for funny, via the idea of out-sourcing our elderly (her word, not mine) to new retirement homes in India. India is a transforming experience she says. I find myself thinking about dysentery.

I enjoy their talks. They read from their current books, mention how nervous they are (writers aren't necessarily speakers - why do we always assume they are?) and talk about where those books came from.

But the books themselves are the seed of my Wild Books blog. On one level they sound fascinating, on another... *shrug* why would I read them?


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