I have never relied on the kindness of strangers, but this week the kindness of strangers was what kept me and my parents going. I tried to make a joke just then, but that’s a bit beyond me at the moment. It’s been a tough one.
The basics: on Friday night/Saturday morning, my dad became very ill, just before he and my mum were supposed to go home after a holiday. I travelled up to be with them, and to help my mum (practical things – hotel, food, company) while she focussed on my dad. It’s now six days later, and my dad is being transferred to the hospital at home, with my mum at his side, where they will have a larger support network to help them out.
I don’t want to get into specifics, but this is just a quick public thank you, a very heartfelt one, to those people that didn’t know us (and a couple who do), but who helped us in different ways – in several cases, really went out of their way to help. I don’t know if any of them really know what an immeasurable difference their help made, but I promise you, it really did. I’m sending cards to many of these people anyway (where I can), but I wanted to publically say that you are wonderful. If karma is real, you’ve got good things coming.
I’m on the train back to London now, doing that thing where I try very hard to keep it together until I walk through my front door, and then I think I’ll sit on the sofa and have a little cry. Pressure relief, you know. And for that reason I’m changing the subject now and, for the sake of my family’s privacy, will not likely reference this in any great detail again soon.
So, the more regular things.
Well, as far as I can tell, two poems I entered for competitions vanished into the big black hole of the not-placed in the past week+, so this weekend I’ll be sitting down and doing what I had planned to do last weekend and start sending them out now that various submission windows are open.
Issue 3 of Bare Fiction Magazine is now very available – please do check it out, not just for my story, but because there is some outstanding writing in there that’s worth a read. Also, I’ll be reading at the launch party (in Brixton on the 24th September. £3 entry), as will the irrepressible Jane Roberts, who I’m looking forward to seeing again, and several other people.
The Manx Lit Fest programme is now available as well, which maps the Poetry Trail. So if you’re an island-dweller, keep an eye out by Rainbows’ End in Lower Douglas from the 14th September; my pome will be there. The sheer appropriateness of it being put up by a shop that I basically used to live in as a teen is fantastic. It had to be RE or Franjax, really. Also, get yourselves tickets for the other events. Mark Grist is reading. So’s my sister, the current (and defending, I believe!) poetry slam champ.
The Furies poem anthology launch is happening on October 1st, and you can pre-order copies of this extremely beautiful book now. Again, it supports Rape Crisis England & Wales, with at LEAST £5 from every sale going to that charity, so if you like poetry (and believe me, there’s some cracking work in there. If you’re a fan of Angela Readman at all, you should definitely be getting this) it’s a win/win buy. Er, I’ve a copy of the press release if anyone wants it?
And now I’m going to go back to reading local-ish author Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist. Normally I avoid bestsellers until they’re at least paperbacks (snob alert), but I’ve been watching this book come to fruition via twitter for a while. And then I opened it and read the second line: “Words are water… they flood your ears and set the rot…” Can’t resist an opening like that.