‘Summertime and the living is easy…’ Fish may not be jumping and the cotton maybe of an indeterminate height,but Summer is a good time to socialise – especially when the sun shines. Although July has been hit and miss, we had a good blast in June, and the gods were with us for our first Bath Writers’ Midsummer Picnic in Victoria Park, by the bandstand (above). Regulars to the workshop and other members of ‘Bath’s literary underground’, as Anthony Nanson put it, gathered to share poems, songs and stories and slurp, nibble and schmooze. We had a guest visit from Stroud poets Jay Ramsay and Rick Vick, who gave readings from their new books. Misha Carder, representing the Gorsedd Caer Badon (the organising committee behind the Bardic Chair of Bath) officially announced that much-missed Bath poets, Dave Angus and Mary Palmer were made Honorary Bards of Bath. Relatives were present to receive the certificates and moving poetic tributes were read out in their honour by friends.
Other gatherings have included the book launch at the Star Anise Stroud on 2nd July (mentioned in previous post); various events at the Frome Literary Festival (I went there last Monday to see my old mentor, Lindsay Clarke, talk about his latest novel, The Sun at Midnight – criminally unpublished – though his talk was wise and inspiring); and my new initative, Summer Sunday Soirees – essentially bardic, with the emphasis on awen and good times.
Monday also saw the second meeting of the Stroud Prose Group, hosted by Anthony and Kirsty. I decided to blat up on the old bike to workshop a chapter from the fourth Windsmith novel, The Burning Path. It was pleasant and productive evening, ‘talking ink’ with fellow writers. Since finishing my bulk of teaching, I’ve been able to make real progress with my own writing – one of the joys of summer – make real headway on my fifth and final Windsmith novel, The Wounded Kingdom, now well over half-way! And I’ve been preparing the third, The Well Under the Sea, for an autumn launch. It’s been a very creative time – now that ‘school’s out for summer’, it feels like a clamp has been removed from my head and suddenly my brain works! The ideas are pouring out. I suspect simply having the energy helps alot. Not being exhausted and brain dead does wonders… I’ve even managed some R&R! Last week spent some time down in delightful Branscombe, East Devon, writing and enjoying the stunning scenery, oh – and the odd pint of beer in Beer!
In the meantime, I have managed to get an agent for a new non-fiction book proposal … that’s all I can say at the moment, except … exciting times!