I have been feeling flattered that a friend across the country asked me to come and be quizzed by her reading group about my book, Unseen Unsung. This was published in 2008, so last week I started re-reading it. I was quite shaken by some aspects of the prose; too dense in parts, too many scene changes. I think if I hadn’t written it myself, I might have had trouble following the plot. I became puzzled, people I don’t know (as well as family and friends) have told me how much they enjoyed this story. Apart from one moment, when I forgot I had written it and the story brought me close to tears, I felt that this was not a book I would recommend to friends.
One outcome of this re-reading was an increased confidence in my new book, Border Line, endlessly revised and now going out to agents. Then, last night, I received an email from another writer – an old and trusted friend. She had been reading my most recent draft and she felt that the majority of my revisions were a disappointment and that I had thrown out what was best and unique about my writing.
Tomorrow night I will travel across the country to find out what a group of strangers made of Unseen Unsung. On Monday I will look at Border Line again and see if I can distil and replace the missing spirit.
Meanwhile Autumn is quietly going about its inevitable and beautiful business.
Acer palmatum Sango-kaku
A week ago I was depressed at the idea of the end of summer, today I am cheered by the approaching autumn. I have planted broccoli and spinach and the vegetable garden still looks amazingly orderly. The potatoes plants were all zapped by ants so we only had one colander full. The sweet peas fried in the heatwave, but everything else has been OK. The leeks are growing and there are plenty of runner and french beans, tomatoes, courgettes and salad to come.
The maples are beginning to turn.
Acer palmatum Sangukaku
From now on until leaf drop they provide me with almost daily excitement. Another happy event is the first fruit on the apple tree (sold to us four years ago as a plum!) We have no idea what sort of apple this is, so it has been a long wait. They look on the small side, but I like the green/orange colour, as I’m not a fan of red apples. I pulled off a tiny one and ate it today.
It has a lovely scent and is thin-skinned and crisp, but with only two tiny bites it was difficult to assess the flavour. Any suggestions about what they might be?
We still have martins feeding young, there have been at least three broods. I hope they have not left it too late to raise them before the cold weather arrives. I made a brave attempt to take a photo of them feeding.
House martins feeding