where is my hot chocolate no thank you mummy’s hand here George take the teabag out bring a spoon please John you’ll have to put it there here fine so it would be hello folks hello darling how are you you’re going to knock it off try and lick it from the top mind your tee-shirt hahahaha every year you dig it out oh yes charity what’s charity for …
The past couple of years I’ve been posting #throughthewindow images to Instagram. Most were taken where I live – up on the hill in the spring, summer and autumn, and from a first floor apartment window in a town nearby during the winter. None of the views are in any way remarkable, but I take a lot of photographs and it became a habit of sorts. Like just now, sat by the window and distracted by the sky, my eyes glued to the hillside opposite, I grab my camera and take this.
This is not my usual view. This is what it’s been like for the last couple of years (previous through the window photos]. The main components? An unremarkable hedge and expanse of sky, uncomplicated by distant hills, trees and fields.
Personally I like the new view but – from a photographic point of view – no. The old view is properly unremarkable. Leylandi have few aesthetic qualities. My interest has been in the sky, the balance of light and dark, the angle of sunlight or rain.
Now the hedge has been cut and is 8 feet lower and the new view is not quite properly unremarkable so this will probably be the last photograph I take from here, unless the hedge grows.
Spent spring and summer on the hill and many hot afternoons in the ‘van catching up with friends and family. Also caught Lorrie Moore and Joshua Ferris reading at the Hay Festival which was brilliant!
This time here (our third summer) I’ve read a LOT: Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams; Richard Ford, Canada; Annie Proulx’s Bird Cloud; Paul Theroux on The Old Patagonian Express; Bruce Chatwin On The Black Hill; Robert MacFarlane’s The Old Ways; Kjell Askildsen, Selected Stories; Kyle Minor, In The Devil’s Territory; Don DeLillo – Americana; Anthony Doerr, The Shell Collector.
Currently reading (bad habit but yes, I do read several simultaneously): Lee Rourke’s Vulgar Things (captivating read in caravan!); Sarah Hilary’s debut crime novel Someone Else’s Skin (and my first crime novel); Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist; Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki; Joshua Ferris’s Man Booker shortlisted novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour; Kelly Link’s collection Pretty Monsters – and after I’ve been to the library tomorrow, the J. Robert Lennon collection, Pieces of the Left Hand.
Writing? Had a year of writing/drafting only – no editing no rewriting no submissions – to work out (again) what sort of a writer I am. It was scary to step back and not submit, and there were times when I nearly waded back in, but the year I spent working this out, will I hope, be worth it.