Yesterday was an odd day. I felt totally lethargic for most of it, even wrote a poem about how the greyness seemed to be sucking the life out of me. I duly posted on twitter about the apathy and was told off (nicely) about it, and to enjoy life, by Yaroslava, a woman I follow who lives in Ukraine and tweets about her #warcoffee, and everything she’s doing to help those in Ukraine who are in even more dire straits than her (you can follow her on twitter on @strategywoman). As she said to me, life is a wonderful thing indeed. Perhaps it’s time for a Yaroslava in Aggie. And if not now, there will be before it ends.
When I did finally get my head together, I wrote over 1k new words of The Mortality Code, as well as ironing out the issue with the missing character I mentioned a few weeks ago. That was progress. It’s now over 76k words, the average length for one of my novels, actually, and I’m not sure I’m even three quarters of the way through – the characters keep doing things that push the ending further and further away. I said to M yesterday again how difficult it is for me to keep the narratives of two novels in my head at once. I think I’m managing to keep the voices apart, though, which is a relief. The proof of the pudding will be in the reading. I need to finish them first.
Marina Florance, one of my favourite people and singers, did a 1-hour concert as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival last night, so I walked the 3 miles down there. I’ve performed with her before, but have never had the chance to just watch her. She was truly fabulous, and when she opened her set with a song I had written the lyrics for (Every Woman on spotify – other streaming services are available), I must admit I welled up a little. It’s one thing to listen to a recorded version of your words, but to watch them being performed live takes the emotion to another level. Marina also sang another song we’d written together (along with the great tunemeister Derek Osei-Owusu, better known as Del or Platinum Mind), Rainbows. And, in total truth, those were eclipsed by all the other songs she sang in a 1-hour set that seemed to last only 30 minutes. Hopefully, BBC Introducing In Norfolk will play out the whole set in full at some point soon. It was great to see Marina and her husband G again (October 2021 was the last time, when we’d started talking about Rainbows), and the icing on the cake were the mike and small drum machine Marina gifted me as she no longer needs them. I will find time to start recording more spoken word material, honestly. The glorious M then picked me up from Norwich railway station because she didn’t want me to walk home in the dark.
One last word on the uplifting day yesterday ended up being. I had taken a packet of straight cigs with me and was smoking one at the station whilst waiting for M to pick me up. A youth who looked just over 20 (if that) came up to me and asked me if they could “borrow” a cigarette. ‘Have one, you mean,’ I said. I got two out of my pack and handed them over their nail-varnished fingers saying ‘It’s bad for you, you know, smoking.’ At which they smiled, said thanks and walked off. And whilst I was turning away smiling to myself, I heard their voice ‘I have a hell of a lot of respect for you.’ I turned back and asked why, and they said they’d been trying for an age to get someone to give them a cigarette and everyone they’d asked had told them to get lost. I almost cried (again) out of despair at such unkindness to a young person not in the best of places, and at the unprompted kindness that young person showed me. And that’s not banal at all.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 92