Monday, May 22, 2006

Book Flair

In many different circumstances we find ourselves having to relearn living. It can be a mental process or a physical one, or even a bit of both. For those who suffer a serious accident, relearning can involve all aspects of life from walking to talking while those who recover from mental illness find themselves confronted with having to adapt to their new vision of the world.

Even when newly divorced, it takes time to come to terms with freedom and all the potential delights on offer. Simple delights such as making a plan to do something exceptional and interesting at the weekend. This last weekend's plan was to go to the Book Fair on the place de la Comedie in the centre of Montpellier. It's a spacious car-free area ideal for browsing covered stands of books. The Esplanade,just off the place and shaded by generously proportioned plane trees was also full of books and people interested in books.

If you were lucky, you might perchance happen across an author - a real one! Christophe Campbell-Howes was to be seen helping out at The Bookshop stand happily visible with ease. Having missed the opportunity to talk to him at his book reading, I went up to have a chat, imprisoned as he was behind a series of tables, so no chance of escaping! Actually, he didn't look like a man on the verge of fight or flight, and chatted perfectly amicably together with Stephen, the owner of the Bookshop.

I'm not sure that he hadn't had a touch of the sun, however, as he asked to see my book. My reaction was totally pathetic jabbering, but finally managed to pull myself together and agreed (one day). It would be a daunting experience, but terribly good for me - a bit like playing exposed viola parts in an important concert. You have to face the criticism as you prepare, but ultimately you are the better writer/player for it.

To date I have received valuable criticism from some very dear friends and indeed from the psychiatrist who advised me on the credibility of the psychological sections in the book. I was searching for information on anger in men and came across the site of Dr Ben Pologe in NYC. If you sent $20 he would be happy to answer any questions you might have. I sent my $20 and an outline of the story and asked if he would advise me. He very generously said he would so I sent him the relevant sections plus a couple of bonus chapters to give him the background and his help was invaluable not only on the psychological parts but also on the other bonus bits where the dialogue didn't sound right, or the ideas expressed were too flimsy. Tough, but of great benefit.

So it's an ongoing process and if I can get it to a state where I feel comfortable sending it to Mr Campbell-Howes, I am sure any feedback from him would be serious stuff.

Next weekend's exceptional and interesting outing will be to the Expo in Viols en Laval to support my friend Anne who also happens to be my first crap-shooter for my book. Relearning to live is soooo agreeable!

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