Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mistaken a view

Bit of a mixed post today.

You ever buy a jar of glass beads? They look so beautiful, glossy and luminous, primary and childishly satisfying. You take them home: expectation grows with their potential; the possibilities epitomised by their perfectness. The lid removed they tumble out, rainbow laughter: the material equivelent of giggles. And then? Why hadn't you noticed the broken ones before, at the bottom (they knew they were not perfect), why did you not see them?

I'll start with the beads at the top.

I got a blog award from the lovely Valerie Storey - see, it has pride of place up there. Thank you Valerie. I shall consider carefully before passing it on!

Andrea, AKA acatofimpossiblecolour, is off to meet her agent/editor for the first time. Her book, Ngozi, is to be published by an imprint of Random House no less, and I want to wish her every success! Andrea has been a fantastic help/critic with my query letter and she will, no doubt, be pleased I have dispatched an ammended version on it's way to London - it is always good to have another pair of eyes look over anything you write, but to have Andrea has been so insightful. I am exceedingly grateful to her for taking the time for me, especially right now - you should see how much she's packing for her trip! I hope the journey continues for her long after she returns.

Another Andrea gave me a lovely mention this week too (or was it last week? I need more sleep) - thanks. Her blog is very unassuming and lacks pretension, and she posts some great images - also she posted about Montana Poetry Day way before any of the supposedly 'in-the-know' bloggers did, but I don't mention names, unless it's to boast and sing their praises, and I'm singing Andreas today! Plus she dug out some of my favourite illustrations to one of my favourite poems too, and posted them together! I have all on to post a letter in the same month as I put the stamp on it!

Now the beads further down, where you can only really see the ones that touch the edge of the jar.

I have been so tired this week and have been very foot in mouth, so foot in mouth that I'm possibly going to have to wipe my toes...(think about it)...erm...or not.

Firstly, visited the library at the weekend, and whilst discussing my writing project with the librarian, I made a stupid gaffe. She mentioned a book and asked if the date it was written was alright: 'what era are you?'

'I'm only thirty three' says me - clever aren't I? She meant the date my story's set in of course...of course!

Next I read a poem and thought, that was wonderful, I'll blog the author and let them know...so off I cyber trots, and said 'poet' has posted all about her new book (no prizes for guessing who this is folks, btw). Great, so I ramble on about how great her poetry is....cyber blog home, only to realise her book is about her short fiction, not her poems!

And typos...Woman, I've missed letters here, there and ever wer!

I decide I need a coffee to wake me up. Now I don't normally drink coffee. I am not what you would term a coffee drinker. I am a tea belly. Tea is my thing. I like Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Assam, green tea, herbal tea, fruit tea, lots of teas in fact. But coffee seemed like the best thing for extra caffeine. And so many to choose from. I have never had to choose for myself before.
I didn't want frothy milk, I didn't want black, I didn't want, well, any of them actually, but I told myself I needed one: 'I'd like a flat black with milk, please.'

And the thing is, I know I am not dumb - at least I think I do, yet I always mess up spectacularly and in the most embarrassing ways, particularly (but not confined to) when I'm tired.

And now for the beads at the bottom.

Some great writers died recently, and it made me acknowledge, once again, how I never know what to say when someone dies. It doesn't make a difference if I knew them or not, was touched by them in some way or not, cared or not, I am unable to string a normal sentence together; and I wonder why? I can write poems about them (and my feelings), but I can't speak or write conversationally about them, or the act of dying. And there, see? The 'act' of dying. Perhaps that's it, I am afraid of it, so diminish it to play acting...but there's a magnificence to death, and beside it conversational words seem trite. Now I think of Donne's 'Death be not proud', but poetry can stand up to the bar. I can only misunderstand.

At least being ignorant gives me more scope for learning :) I am a tabula rasa waiting to have knowledge scrawled all over me. I think someone must have replaced my slate with an etcher sketcher though. Perhaps I will retain more knowledge if I stay perfectly still?

But there are worse sufferers than me. I knew someone who had a leg amputated. A well meaning person went up to this person not long after the operation, and said 'never mind dear, it'll grow back.' My person said (afterwards - too polite to embarrass the other person) 'what does he think I am, a spider?'

The beads at the bottom might not seem any use, but look at them, I mean really look at them, and think about them before you discard them. Sometimes there's a wee gem lurking in the bottom - even if it does look like a load of broken glass.


Andrea said...

Thank you so much for this, Rachel! What you have said is really lovely and it has made my day :) I really enjoy reading your blog - it's interesting and thought provoking and expresses a great sense of humour too.

Hope your day has improved by now - I can identify with doing silly things at times as well! All you can really do is think about it, laugh about it and move on.

Andrea Eames said...

I think you are being too hard on yourself, maybe? Most people (I think) struggle with what to say about death. And I have made far worse gaffes than yours. Actually, there was a good one today. I thought someone was saying "you look lovely today" and responded with "Oh, thank you, that's very kind!" Turned out they were saying "It's a lovely day." Little self-absorbed me!

And thank you for the kind words. I'm glad I've been of help. So glad you've sent out your query again - best of luck! Let me know what transpires. I'll still have email access overseas, and hopefully I'll be keeping up with blogging. The blog's my little happy place, keeps me sane.

A xx

Group 8 said...

The poet in question does not mind!! Stop worrying, girl.

Death is a hard one. I'm afraid too.

I love the analogy of the beads, btw. V beautiful and imaginative.

Rachel Fenton said...

Rainbow Andrea - ditto, and you're right about the laughing and moving on, because if I wallowed, lordy, I'd be elbow deep in my own stupidity and end up going head over axis and landing on my mistakeness! And I meant what I wrote!

Cat Andrea - will defo keep in touch and let you know how this lot of querying goes. Have a wonderful trip - I'm so thrilled for you! Geat story - woman after my own heart, lol!

Nuala - how on earth did you guess it was you? :) Ha! Thanks - I truly appreciate your comments.