The quality of realness

I have a cough. And a cold. And a sore throat. So does everyone else in London, I guess. It's just a February thing. And the thing about a cough and a cold and a sore throat is that they're all extremely real. There's no denying you have them when you have them. There's all the sneezing and wheezing and pain to keep reminding you. Here they are. Real.

It's interesting to me to compare the undeniable reality of mild illness with the, I find, strangely deniable nature of being-about-to-publish-a-book. Apparently, it's going to happen two weeks from today. But it's not like there's something constantly there to remind me of it, not a strange physical tick or a bodily sensation. While my cold is very real, my book-publication is very abstract.

That is, until I hear something like this on the radio:
[click on Wednesday's play. Listen to the first minute or so. I guess this'll only work until next Wednesday.]

I feel like the Velveteen Rabbit. My realness is externally determined. If Radio 4 thinks so, I must be real.


Suddenly everything makes sense

Why couldn't I see it before? How could I have been so blind?

Brokeback to the Future:


Time Out

There's also this. The photograph was taken outside Deli Express on Brent Street. We wanted to go and take pictures outside the Shatnez Centre (where they check clothing to make sure it doesn't contain any mixtures of linen and wool. Seriously.) but they weren't too keen on the idea, even without knowing what my novel's about. I think I gave off the wrong vibes. They were perfectly polite, though. I even met one of my mother's ex-pupils from Bais Ya'akov school in the queue of women bringing in suits and winter coats for Shatnez testing.  Shortly after the Time Out pic was taken, I was about to go home and have a migraine. I think you can tell from how cross I look in it.


Oh it's all so glamorous

Today I went to Rugby and signed 1,400 copies of my novel. It was more fun than I'd anticipated (having heard stories of writers spending three days in draughty Glasgow warehouses) but still pretty exhausting. Apparently when (a great English man of letters who shall remain nameless) does these signings, he requests a bottle of champagne, and (another similar great man) tends to arrive drunk, and occasionally slip a tenner into a book "so that some lucky person will get a nice surprise". I briefly considered signing one of them "Naomi the vampire slayer" but thought better of it. Or did I....?

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