Wednesday, 10 November 2010

new dreams

I have started sending the collection out. Must start chewing over. Have sent query letters to the U.S. and U.K., a couple of kind rejections already and one request for a full manuscript which was a small thrill, so I am living in suspension, just like the fog outside.

Today I'll be writing more and more of these, just to get to the end of that list. Even publishers and editors will be ensnared. I have a couple of favourite imprints who will probably happily ignore my efforts but that's okay, harden the f*** up Catherine!

And when the fog clears it will be time to forget submissions and emails and words and files and I will write another story. Am beginning to hear snippets, echos, words.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

hair do

I had to change my site image. I always knew I would. The lovely pink lady is a postcard (copywrighted!) given to me by a friend and is framed with the tags from a box of teabags I brought back from Japan. I've held onto her for a long time (even used her for a series of promotional bookmarks), but now that I am compiling the story for more serious circulation it is time to pull something out of the hat myself.

This is a barber shop sign bought on the roadside in Lomé, Togo, when Omar was about two. Omar has just turned eighteen.

The new cover design that I am working on is different though. I just wanted to put this up for fun. I have always suffered this divide between the Graphic and the Word. How lovely to be able to play here.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

the drum

Ever since I left Ghana I have missed the drums. The way some guy a few houses away might just pick one up and start to play, or kids across the street, or a funeral in full swing for the last couple of weeks. Here there is such silence it took a while to accept. But now, being such a thin sleeper, it has become a part of the way my days and nights expand. I used to worry I would become a shrivelled aunt who had forgotten how to speak, but I haven't started to hum and don't expect answers from my dogs. Besides, my brood make such a racket when they are present, the silence is the cleanest tide, the only way to function.

Autumn damp makes for great working conditions although the flooding in town has been a worry. Last night I was terrified the canals would fill and my piano would be knee deep in water, such an awful thought. I have friends in a big fix but here the fields are drying out, the long strips of water have subsided.

Today it is so quiet.

I have had a great time with three stories lately. I try to tug away from Ghana but there are so many stories there that won't stop tapping inside my brain. I have started compiling the Collection in case AE ever gets back to me. I have 19 and discovered one set in Sydney, published an age ago, which still rang true. I have always gone for culture overlapping, how one party is often subservient, suffering.

This is from 'Where the Wounded Go', my current favourite.

'They drove to the hills that pushed the city against the coast. As they rose the change in altitude made her head feel looser, or perhaps she had just had her face in his groin so long. Now she lifted her head. Though the scrappiness of the city was gone there was a different tide of erosion up here. The colonial buildings stood tall, fettered with all manner of appendage, and the roads were thin, drawn over the landscape with their endless trails of unfit transportation. Huge old trees carried the heaviness of history as much as their scored vaulting, vegetation was stiff.

She was thirsty, the two beers at the hotel had brought it on. Now she was clammy with his liquid and everything felt flawless. She looked at him as he drove, wanting to rub herself harder into his skin once again, wanting to lick his eyelids and use her tongue to feeler his teeth. She wanted to chase him, bring him down, feed on the spurting from his neck.'