John Bauer and Kerstin Frykstrand
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This needed equally serious,no-chat, just get on with it suroundings: away from home, and the ever-present risks of dispacement activity. We’re lucky enough to be able to visit the stunning Bishopsgate Institute,with its library of ‘ world-renowned collections on London history, labour and socialist history, free thought and humanism, co-operation, and protest and campaigning.’
It’s a gorgeous, old-school library: all wooden parquet floors, tall shelves and stunning stained glass windows, wonderfully combined with historial artefacts and all the current magazines you could possible want for a day’s displacement, I mean research, activity.
The first two weeks went by with us both unavailable. I opened out the last Friday of the month for any SCBWI-er in London to come along: also making it harder for me to chicken out. So I can report a wonderful day of productivity: steps closer to publication and an unqualified success. Hurrah! Or …
Friday: get up late. Persuade daughter that sad packed lunch of tiny bread and cheese and water is character-forming opportunity to cook for herself later. Swear at person slowly paying for Tube ticket in single coins of unknown currency. Sit in train in tunnel while driver says she isn’t sure why we are there. Make will in diary. Avoid psychotic black cab driver bent on pedestrian destruction. Shiver on icy street. Chat brightly to SCBWI member who has arrived and desperately try to recall meeting them at conference as described.
Gaze at lovely surroundings and take seat closest to radiator. Arrange six notebooks containing bits of writing, plot ideas, character sketches in optimum position on desk. Gaze some more. Hate main character. Gaze some more. Loo break. Look at postcards and consider purchase of tote bag to add to enormous collection of unused tote bags.
Sneaky look at social media. Set up app to prevent sneaky looks at social media. Rewrite first paragraph. Rewrite rewrite. Check how much of scheduled undisturbed 30 minutes has gone on new app. Decide it can’t be only two minutes. Gaze at surroundings. Discuss lunch and possible attendance at free classical concert in next room. Go for lunch.
Return to find out another writer has arrived. Whispered discussion of progress. Agree surroundings are magnificent. Reset app. Spot stacks of books for sale. Examine dozens of books at length. Remember recent clearing of hundreds of books.
Reset non-disturbance app. Rewrite rewritten rewrite. Consider turning contemporary ghost story set in England into historical fantasy set abroad. Start planning series of blog posts for newly-commissioned work. Gaze some more. Find text from friend who has arrived for catch-up. Meet friend for hot chocolate with writer in cafe. Discuss translation, educational IT, websites, photos, daughters and NHS. Announce must return to writing.
Meet staff member and discuss London Fortean Society meetings, children and writing. Agree surroundings are magnificent. Anxious call from A Level burn-out casualty. Plan evening of writing to email for comment from writing partners. Divert to bookshop to buy two brilliant new books published this week by Robin Stevens and Melinda Salisbury.
Write all evening.
Photo of Library, Bishopsgate Institute, © Mike Ellis
Other photos from writers’ websites
Annual changing of these lovely illustrations by Kerstin Frykstrand from December to January. A bit late in a day of technologies conspiring against me but it’s ok because there’s been writing, good books and food, and plans with friends.
May the 4th is Star Wars Day. It’s my wedding anniversary, by happy coincidence: we chose it to make a long Bank Holiday for people coming from abroad.
It’s also our 4th anniversary and I like the number 4. I voted for it as the world’s favourite number – see no. 7 here (I think seven cheated to win.) So I though I’d find four groups of four things about our wedding, with the four photos above.
Four Musical Things:
The Swedish Wedding March. A nod to my background by birth, for going into the register office. We’ve heard all the jokes about strangling cats, thanks.
Nick Cave: Straight to You. There had to be St Nick, forced upon a captive audience. The setting limited our choice a bit. One other devotee was happy and she’d traveled from the States; several older guests who’d come from Kent and Herts had a little doze.
North Sea Radio Orchestra. For one reason only. First dance: shortest piece of music from a band we both love.
Arash: Boro Boro. Because you’ve got to have an Iranian-Swedish crowd-pleaser. And everyone gets to do hand-waving and make up their own words.
Four Decorative Things:
Life-sized plastic horse. You can see him behind the table if you zoom in. I’ve said it before, the London Canal Museum is the best place for a party. It’s got the horse AND one of the only ice wells you can look into.
Place names: Friend did the nice writing, paper cut into strips and stuck with a pin through a pink heart chocolate. Soppy but nice. With the replacement of a black jelly baby pinned through the heart for our much-loved Welsh Goth.
Confetti cones. Not to be quirky or wedding-magaziney but because I enjoyed using old wrapping paper and sheet music to make them. And our two bloke ushers looked amusing carrying them.
Orders of Service: Sister-in-law enlisted to help cut paper as above, stick on more paper with song and poem titles, stamp with special name and date stamp, thread with ribbon and shove a bit of rosemary through the ribbon. Took ages: looked lovely. Which brings me on to –
Four Things I Forgot:
Orders of Service. Left at home. My daughter tried to tell me as we got in the cab but I didn’t listen. Sigh.
Vases. Carrier bags with the little vases I’d found in charity shops over months, for flowers on the tables, left under the table with the above. The flowers looked just as good in bar glasses.
Marylebone Register Office waiting room: It is lovely. Actually, they forgot to tell me it existed so Best Friend and I went to Starbucks before and I had to tiptoe around on a ladies’ floor with rather more urine on it than is acceptable.
Sense of humour: Starbucks and the rain made me a bit hacked off for a while. Sorry, Mum and Amelia.
Four Brilliant Things:
Going through London on our own big red bus on the opening day of the Elephant Parade.
My nervous daughter reading poetry in front of loads of people.
Friends from all over and from all stages of our lives.
Family for the first and last time they’ve all been together. Four of my half siblings made it. My birth father. And all four of my and Steve’s parents.
This gallery contains 6 photos.
Originally posted on abbeyfuneralservices:
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