Citric reviews and a poet's burglaries

I feel as though the weekend has barely started and yet I'm already thinking about the Monday return to work! I've managed no writing at all this week - I'm never in the right frame of mind on the commute. I could have done some today but spent half the day faffing around - downloading iOS 5 on the iPhone took almost two hours! Still haven't done the iPad. Then there was the ironing, cleaning, etc. I did, however, have a long talk with a lovely creative woman and we said - not for the first time - that we would brainstorm and collaborate. Men are forever being helped, it seemed to us, through networks and all the rest of it - it's harder for women - Fred Astaire got the lion's share of the glory yet Ginger did it all - backwards! Anyhoo - my viva date has been set for 9th December. It's a Friday. D-Day! I hope.
I had been reading Frazier's Nightwoods but I felt I was losing connection with it - and then I read a review of it in this week's Times Lit Supp (I recommend not reading reviews of books that you are currently reading! Needless to say it was not the most flattering, shining the light on things I had barely registered, but which now could not help but see in a similiarly wearisome light; that's other people's opinions - they're a bit like lint and velcro! But, Frazier should take heart that at least he didn't receive the most citric review in this week's issue - that was reserved for the author of, not so much a book on Montaigne, as a book written as through him as an autobiographical device - as though he were a regular twenty-first century likely lad you'd like to have a few jars with down the pub. The book, What Do I Know: What Montaigne might have made of the modern world, by Paul Kent, was described by Timothy Chesters as 'painfully self denuding as an episode of The Office'. I was very much taken with the included quote, though, "je ne dis les autres sinon pour d'autant plus me dire", which means: 'I do not speak the minds of others except to speak my own mind better'. I'm guessing neither the TLS, or Chesters, are aware that the book's publisher, Beautiful Books, is now in administration and all stock is being offered to the respective authors (my own included) at 'around 50p per book'.
Hugo Williams was in fine melancholy form this week in Freelance as he relayed being burgled whilst he slept. He conveyed the journey from victim-support cynic to advocate as he was advised to 'write about it' - getting such invasions, violations, of privacy 'expressed' can help one come to terms with it. The victim support advisor, it seemed, had no idea that Williams was a poet and writer. He took her suggestion anyway, and shared it with TLS readers. I'm glad he did - apart from the kidney piece he wrote it was one of his finest.
Tomorrow I'm off to Dulwich Picture Gallery - for the first time - to see the Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven exhibition. I shall undoubtedly write about it.


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