A book, a chair, a glass of wine. Such are the ingredients for a happy evening.
Add Margaret Atwood to the recipe and you have a properly fantastic evening.
Not just Margaret Atwood, but Margaret Atwood at the Book Hive reading from her new collection of stories Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood shaking your hand, Margaret Atwood telling you inspirational tales of Robert Louis Stevenson’s semi-accidental creation of Treasure Island, Margaret Atwood signing the following on your copy of Stone Mattress:
The reason she signed this was because I asked her to. This is what I do now. I decide what I want, and I ask for it.
People can always say no, after all. (On occasion, they do.) They can also say yes.
Last year, 2014, was my annus horribilis. This year, so far, has been awesome. The fun started just before Christmas, at the tail end of the annus horribilis. I woke up one morning with balls, and decided I’d take a quick punt on tweeting a blog post of mine to the pianist and mental health advocate James Rhodes.
Moments later, this happened:
Shortly afterwards, Derren Brown (who probably needs no introduction) posted the link on his Facebook page.:
As a consequence I got my first ‘1K’ likes:
And I had the HUGE reward of being told, by several people, that my blog had helped them. Really helped them.
Good things do emerge from the ether sometimes, with no warning, but often – more often, it seems – they are likely to happen to those who go after them: don’t ask, don’t get, after all.
And so, in the spirit of living dangerously (NB by which I mean relatively dangerously: you’re unlikely to see me engaging in extreme sports any time in the next century) I applied for a TV game show (and got through the audition… watch this space!) and managed to land a lovely job teaching narrative strategies (posh name for ‘storytelling’) to animation students at the Norwich University of the Arts. I joined the campaign to save our local school from academisation (as I posted about last time) and ended up, somehow, on my soapbox as the opening speaker at Saturday’s demo.
I’ve set up my own Write Club in partnership with Norwich’s Maddermarket Theatre (beginning on April 11th, Norfolk peeps, if you’re interested) and, probably best of all, I made a guest appearance on the youtube channel of a certain Lucylou:
The awesome Lucylou would probably love you forever if you clicked through to youtube and gave her a thumbs up, by the way…
This time last year I was down in the mouth. I was cross and resentful and couldn’t bear anyone to mention my ex, his new partner or even their two little pugs. But things change. Yesterday, among numerous Mothers’ Day treats planned by the aforementioned Lucylou, we took the puggies to the park together.
And, as you can see, it was awesomely fun. If slobbery. Fun things often are slobbery, though, aren’t they?
So here’s to 2015: my year of living both dangerously and slobberyishly. (And making up words if I want to.)
And, finally, let me make clear that the having of testicles isn’t remotely connected to courage or brass neck or bravery. I just like the word ‘balls’.