A Quiet Afternoon in the Museum of Torture, already has two lovely reviews, for which I'm deeply grateful. And now, after an intensely sociable, enjoyable - albeit tiring - weekend, I'm starting the process of formatting and checking the manuscript of the Curiosity Cabinet before launching that too onto Kindle, as well as searching for, (and finding), the rights reversion letter which proves that the copyright has reverted to me. As a writer, you become so deeply involved in the world of current work - the 'work in progress' - that it's very hard to pull yourself out of it, and pay attention to other projects. At the moment, I'm working on a newish novel called The Physic Garden, which has undergone several changes over the past year, about which I'll write in due course. Watch this blog! But I'm also spending some time rereading The Curiosity Cabinet so that I can make sure the upload goes as smoothly as possible. I don't think I'll be making many changes to it, except perhaps to the acknowledgements which now need updating.
This was a novel of which I was very fond - and I find that I still am. I don't mean in any self satisfied sense. I just mean that I still like these characters, still love this setting. It's a strange experience, rereading something you wrote a while ago (in this case, five or six years ago). It's almost like a re-encounter with something written by somebody else. Sometimes you even find yourself thinking 'how the hell did I write that?' But The Curiosity Cabinet was a project I lived with for a very long time, because I first wrote it as a trio of plays for BBC Radio 4, produced by Hamish Wilson. That was a tremendously happy production, and the novel that followed was - for some reason which I can't quite fathom - an equally happy experience. It's a quiet story, really - a Scottish love story spanning centuries - but when I think of it, it still warms my heart. I find it easy to summon up the sense of enchantment and involvement I had when I was writing it - and that doesn't always happen, believe me!
Meanwhile, because we had a great many visitors over the weekend, many of whom asked me what I was working on these days, I also had the 'Kindle' conversation with a number of people.
Me: I'm publishing some work onto Kindle. It's very exciting.
Friend: Oooooh, nooooo!
Me: But it's such a beautiful little device.
Friend: But I love books so much!
Me: Er yes, (looks around at house bursting at the seams with real paper books) So do I! But I love being able to download something at the click of a mouse. And I love being able to carry all these words about with me in one little package.
Friend: Hmm. Yes. Well, there's that. My mother/brother/sister/best friend has one. She swears by it. Well to be honest, I'm thinking of asking for one for Christmas!
There was a variation on the conversation and it went like this
Me: I'm publishing some work onto Kindle
Friend: Aaah. (cautiously) How do you feel about your Kindle?
Me: I love it.
Friend: Oh good. (sigh of relief) I love mine too, but I wondered what you might think...