Re:Reading…

February has been a great month. I’ve done some tweaking of the version of The Knight’s Tale (which I more or less completed the end of January), written a version of Melibee, almost completed another cab tale (Handbagbra working title) and started work on The Clerk’s. It’s been great and a bit mad. It feels like I’ve been writing in my sleep… but another exciting development has been my reading. I’ve been reading in every spare moment. Today I even read some of the Clerk’s Tale in the original as my children played under my feet. The reading has really kicked in. A couple of things really helped. One was doing an overnight gig at Lumb Bank which meant several hours of train journeys both ways (a total of 9 hours). I took a couple of  U S noir influenced books, The Whole Truth by James Cummins which is based on the Perry Mason TV series (I’m not familiar with the original), written ENTIRELY in sestinas. It has to be seen to be believed; and Then, Suddenly by Lyn Emanuel, a tad too self-conscious for me but an interesting read at 1 am after a gig. I’ve also been reading the stunning What the Water Gave Me – Poems after Frida Kahlo  by Pascale Petit. I’m a fan of the poet and the artist so, not surprisingly, I’m impressed. These scorching images will help with my version of The Clerk’s Tale which will be free verse, but very image-led, quite unlike most of my usual writing…

But what has inspired me most of all must be hanging out with my mate, Francesca (Beard) who’s work-in-progress is The London Tales. By wonderful coincidence, Francesca also has a Grant for the Arts to develop a show based on The Canterbury Tales. We hung out at her pad, drank wine, and talked into the small hours. Till 3 a.m. Which is the latest I’ve stayed up since the children were born! And it was wonderful. I used to do such things regularly. They fed my creativity. It was so so precious. We talked shop on and off, the conversation meandered into all kinds of interesting places. One of these was The Uncanny. You’ve mentioned the uncanny three times, said Francesca. You should look into that. I have. One of the books I’ve visited this week is Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory by Andrew Bennet and Nicholas Royle. It was a set text on my creative writing MA ten years ago. I loved it then and I love it now. I did’t just read the chapter on the uncanny. I read chapters on Narrative, Sexual Difference, Me…Now, I have so many ideas I can’t sleep. So I just read more…