Last night I went to the launch of two poetry books - Adrian Slatcher's Playing Solitaire For Money and JT Welsch's Orchids, both published by Salt. JT's a graduate of the creative writing PhD programme at the University of Manchester, so that gave it a nice edge for me - to see what the kids one level up are playing at. (Very fancy games, that's what; I was dead impressed.) Anyway, it was a great event - two very different poets and a fantastic setting in the newish International Anthony Burgess Foundation building up near Oxford Road Station. Once again I find myself thinking I ought to read more poetry.
Other than that, and other than neglecting the blog, what have I been doing? Reading quite a bit - Anna Karenina took a fair bit of energy, and then I veered away from the TBR pile to have another go at Margaret Atwood's Cats Eye, which is one my most favourite novels. It's about eleven years since I first read it, while spending a few months in Chicago as a student, and I remember finding it incredibly powerful and distressing. It's less distressing now, but still as heart-stoppingly brilliant as ever. (You should actually probably cease reading this blog and go read Cat's Eye RIGHT NOW, even if you've read it before. Go! Seriously.) Anyway, the reason for the fiction-detour into Atwood-land was that I'm writing about teenage girls and friendships and families at the moment, so it was all in the name of research. Ahem. So that was the reading, and then there was the writing - the novel is slowly coming along, though it's far from finished, ho hum. I think I'm still on the optimism side of the fence concerning it, though the book itself is terribly miserable, of course. What else did you expect?
I've got little else of import to note. Mainly I'm occupied with gestational matters and clothes that don't fit. So if you want excitement, head over to Claire King's blog - she's just nabbed a deal with Bloomsbury. Now, that's real news. Otherwise, watch this space, because I'm sure I'm due a bike theft soon and I'll blog all about it. In fact, I've had an attempted theft already since the last actual successful thievery at Halloween; the bike frame itself was utterly bolloxed by some idiot who still failed to get the lock off and steal the thing, but this time, I think I'm covered by the Evil Insurance Racket Bastards. If not, you're in for some Patented Valerie Ranting very, very soon.