Monday, 8 August 2011

When we were up we were up...

It's been a funny old week.

It began with a very exciting book deal with an American publisher - a dizzying feeling, to know that my words will be going across the pond - and it ended with an inspiring first face-to-face meeting with my editor at Headline, Leah Woodburn.  She showed me the initial cover design for The Book of Summers, and we talked animatedly about proof copies and what the next few months would hold.  Afterwards, I went to Liberty and enjoyed easily the most delicious piece of carrot cake I've ever had, and bought a turquoise leather document wallet for no other reason than it's very beautiful and soft as butter.

But throughout it all, my brother-in-law has been in hospital with an acute appendicitis.  He's the kind of guy who's given to superlatives, so fittingly his was no ordinary deal; he rocked the whole gangrenous, doctor-baffling, relative-terrifying variety.  Thank all the gods, he's home safe now.  But in the midst of his illness I was in Sainsbury's, queuing behind an elderly woman.  She was - as tradition has it - taking her sweet time, and talking to the check-out lady (who was no spring chicken herself) about her niggling and various ailments. As she shuffled away with her groceries the assistant smiled up at me and said, 'don't ever get old, dear.'  I pretended to hunt for my Nectar card but really I was trying not to cry a little bit.  Because, given the alternatives, it's about the best thing we can do, isn't it, getting old?  

In William Boyd's Any Human Heart, Logan contemplates a group of lithe and sun-kissed teenagers, and instead of lamenting his lost youth he muses, 'Play on, boys and girls, I say, smoke and flirt, work on your tans, figure out your evening's entertainment.  I wonder if any of you will live as well as I have done.'

Get well soon, Lorenzo.