I've just had a striking idea for a new novel - 'Lit Lite', I suspect! - which is desperately inconvenient as we're in the middle of being evicted here. I have ideas all the time, of course, like most writers. But this one has particular promise, not least because it makes delicate little connections with some of the emotional hurdles I've faced over the past ten years.
I've put the bare bones of the plot down in a notebook and will revisit it in a few weeks, just to see if it still resonates with me. I'm pleased to have come up with a new idea anyway, even if it ends up being unwritable. I have to finish something else I've been working on before I can start work on a new book, but at least this will mean I have an interesting project lined up for that twilight time just after you've moved house, when your brain is still shifting aimlessly about in the dust and chaos, looking for something solid to cling onto.
I met the editor of established poetry magazine SEAM the other week, the formidable Anne Berkeley. It was at the Cambridge CB1 reading; she very kindly bought a copy of Boudicca & Co., and asked me to send her some poems for the magazine. Of course, I do have some new poems available, but I'm not entirely convinced by them yet. Another month or two, perhaps. They don't seem quite bedded down into themselves, still something a bit provisional about them. But she put me onto an old friend, via email, whom I first met at an Arvon course many years ago: former editor at SEAM, Frank Dullaghan, who now lives and works in Dubai, and has a collection of poetry forthcoming from Cinnamon Press next year. It was good to touch base with him again.
Today someone on the Poem Forum was asking for hints and tips on approaching literary editors about writing reviews for them. Coincidentally I had just been reading some superb past issues of Mslexia - to be picked up for a song via their website if you're a woman writer or interested in women's writing - including one which featured an article on approaching magazine editors as a book reviewer. I've been thinking for some time myself about stepping up a gear in terms of reviewing, but haven't yet motivated myself to send a sample poetry review to the big guns (TLS, LRB etc), so it was a jolt to my ambition to answer the guy's post with some salient points. I've become contented, I think, just to review for the 'usual suspects' and not look any higher. But one of the points Mslexia frequently makes is that women writers tend not to be as ambitious and inclined to aim high as their male counterparts.
Time to do something about that uncharacteristic lack of inclination, I think ...