Friday, August 28, 2009



I am still working on my 500th story. It's a biggie, that's why...

Delays are part and parcel of the publishing world. The parcel part often gets lost in the post; the part part sometimes doesn't get put together into a whole. In other words, if an author writes a book (quite a feat in itself) and manages to convince a publisher to accept it (an even bigger feat) he shouldn't automatically expect his book to hit the ground running just because he has two feats under his belt. Feats get tripped and bodies of work can sprawl. This is perfectly and annoyingly normal. What can one do about it? Nothing much.

I'm still waiting for Mister Gum to appear. It was originally slated for March, then the publication date was moved to June, then it was re-scheduled for the end of August. Which is now. It might actually be out and winging its way towards me at this very moment. I don't know. I should know by this time next week. Or maybe not. Twisthorn Bellow has also been postponed and won't come out until next March. This is because of a personal issue I have with hyphenation. More of that some other time. The relaunch of The Postmodern Mariner has also been delayed and probably won't take place until October. More time to publicise and promote these events: that's how to look on the bright side.

On the other hand, things that are put off for years or decades can finally happen spontaneously. Since the late 1970s I have wanted to make a mancala board. I taught the rules to Adele last week and she instantly suggested we make a board from clay. So we did. Here's the result. It works beautifully. The version of mancala we play is called oware. In Africa I played oware and lost every game I played; Adele also has acquired the habit of regularly beating me. I'm just not very good at it. One day we might progress to bao, but I'm not sure we can afford the amount of modelling clay that would require.

I am reading too many books at the same time. I dream of the day when I am only reading one book at a time. The situation at the present moment is the worst it has ever been, so I decided to photograph all the books I am reading in a pile together, to shame myself. Here they are. I am absolutely forbidden from adding more books to this pile.

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