Archive | November, 2013

Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

18 Nov

I’m lucky to be living in Cambridge, UK. We are less than 5 miles from the centre and the University, which is an embedded and integral feature of this small City. Moving here 14 years ago, we love walking in and about Cambridge and visiting the Colleges and their grounds. If I’m feeling very fit or in training for a long race, I can run along the River Cam which goes through Cambridge. It’s got a great library, 2 large multi floor bookshops, several excellent second hand bookshops, beautiful architecture, a  number of first class museums river punts, good independent shops, two theatres and zillions of concerts, talks and performances regularly taking place. The Market Square has a very good second hand book stall. In short, Cambridge offers a wealth of cultural and cerebral delights to an appreciative demographic as well as an elite education for those with brains, money and the right class. In the distant past, hostility and resentment between Town and Gown, (ordinary town residents and working people and students and their wealthy Colleges), led to fights, occasional riots and sometimes, deaths. This is no longer the case (I think) but the old enmities live on, albeit in a weakened form. I live in a village and I walk my dog with other dog walking chums. If I announce on any particular day that I’m going into Cambridge later, their response is invariably “Poor you.” It’s now become a conditioned response and I’m disappointed if they don’t respond negatively. Why don’t they like it ? Traffic is awful and it’s full of tourists and congestion. They would only venture in to do some shopping but only if it can’t be avoided. Not everyone but most of them have no interest in what Cambridge has got to offer including the architecture and the river walksw

http://www.cambridgewordfest.co.uk/ is a literary festival in November and a smaller one in the Spring. Heffers is a large bookshop which hosts literary events. See http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/org/4414026401. I’ll be seeing retired Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Raymond Tallis talk about faith and science and crime writer Ian Rankin interviewed by Alison Bruce. Poor me !

I think I’ve got a crime novel in me. I’m currently sketching out the story line and characters. It’s slow work. Must get more focussed, more motivated and definitely more  disciplined. I’ve been giving myself this message for decades. Note to self : please take notice of important internal memoranda addressed to self.

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Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

15 Nov

We went to see Donna Tartt at the Cambridge Union debating hall a couple of days ago.Apart from some TV and radio dates she is only appearing at 6 venues in the UK. I read The Secret History 20 years ago and enjoyed it. I didn’t read or buy The Little Friend but I have bought The Goldfinch which is now adorned with Ms Tartt’s siignature. Thank you, Ms Tartt. She was warm, friendly and responsive which was in contrast to her stark, austere Gothic appearance. She talked  sense, discussed her writing habits, took questions gracefully, volunteered no information about her personal life and didn’t appear to have wacky ideas. I’d be very surprised if she was a Scientologist. Her couple of minders, who ensured the long queue of people waiting for  her signature moved along smoothly, also stopped quasi criminal types who had the audacity to bring along crumpled copies of The Secret History (in paperback} for signing at the same time. They were told they might be obliged after the new book signings were finished and if she had enough ink left in her pen.

Ms Tartt began 25 minutes late, thanks to the Cambridge traffic apparently. We were not allowed into the debating chamber and had to wait along narrow corridors. Since we are Brits we didn’t complain, of course. An interesting variation came when the woman in front of us asked a flustered staff member about the need to keep us standing. He replied that it was difficult for him as well.She then felt obliged to make an apology to him.

Her audience comprised a varied cross section of ages from seventies to students. No-one dressed up much, It was a typical Cambridge crowd.

Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

10 Nov

With this blog, with the words and ideas contained, I intend to make radical changes. I vow to use all the clichés and tabloid phrases at my disposal to describe an intrinsic shift in my outlook and disposition. I’m fed up with procrastination, willingness to be distracted and endless fantasising about ideas which are never pursued. I’m sixty-one years old! Still young, very young compared to a centurion but indisputably chronologically older than nineteen. I am, however, emotionally stuck in my late teens and early twenties and glad of it! But I’ve always put thing off, let things ride,taken the line of least resistance and put effort into avoiding any stressful changes or stepping outside of my comfort zone. Well, lessons have been learned. At the end of the day I’ve got to change my mindset or I’ll be in bits. Lets be clear about this, I’m damaged goods but there’s still fuel in the tank, still lead in my pencil (figuratively, of course, because I’m using a computer).

What do I want to say? What ideas do I want to explore that will lead to new ways of thinking and feeling? Which then lead to consistently working towards a goal.

I want to write a book. Good news! I have written a book. Well done me. But wait. Despite reading and thinking a great deal about writing, revising and not sending it off to agents and publishers until  it was fully polished  and avoided all the obvious pitfalls a budding writer falls into, I did just that. I received numerous rejection slips and one comment stating I was at the beginning of the creative process. That particularly grated. For a short while I mused about plotting a crime story concerning a serial killer whose victims were literary agents choked to death by rejected submissions. The ones who only accepted emails would have to be dispatched in other ways. But, of course I didn’t pursue it.

I’d like to start a small  internet based  business selling self designed T-shirts. Again I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about this and the steps I would need to take but……………at this point I lost interest in myself and decided to start another blog aliveandrunning2013.wordpress.com