All those words drunk deep along with dusty sunshine, on the red tile verandah of a whitewashed house.
I sat outside each morning to feel the sunlight slide round the side of the house and watch a slinky litter of kittens play in the almond trees below.
Skimmed the surface of the pool of dead rose petals and moths.
The sides were cracked, the water was green but cool.
One day I came nose to nose with a perfectly tiny wriggling S – a lizard that needed scooping from the water.
And I kept reading, more than I have in a long while.
(Fresh squeezed orange juice, two fruits a glass)
I like the way the threads of stories tangle in a mind that’s empty of any work day urgency.
My head annoys me. I have the kind of mind that reads quickly, inhales the chapters, lives entirely in the world of the book, and then in the days that follow, loses too much of it too fast. I berate myself even as I plunge into the next first chapter in the pile. Addicted, sometimes sated.
Sonetimes I slow myself down, deliberately alternating chapters of a juicy novel and some tougher prose.
I need to pull up from rushing through impressions, by stepping into the kind of muscular argument that the brain has to chew more slowly.
(Coarse bread, olive oil, fresh tomatoes, salt.)
“..America is sober, Britain is legless…”
(Cold Alhambra beer)
So – hours spent with books high in a village in the mountains in the south of Spain. No watch. No deadlines. No demands.
“… There’s no substitute for the process of trying on different lives, and waiting to find one that fits…”
Only the distractions of food and wine and splashing with a small boy in the water. Most of the drama comes off the page.
No noise unless Atalbeitar’s villagers came out on the plaza below us on a hot night.
The first Sunday, the sounds of fiesta echoed up the valley in the sticky small hours of the morning. It made me think – it’s not my space, it’s theirs; I’m only camping; and soon it will be time to leave.
By the end it was cooler in the morning and at night and it felt like time to go home.
Capital – John Lanchester
The Fall – Claire McGowan
Canada – Richard Ford
Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury
11.22.63 – Stephen King
Skios – Michael Frayn
The Cookbook Collector – Allegra Goodman
The Social Animal: A Story of How Success Happens – David Brooks
Wicked Women – Fay Weldon
Notes on Them and Us – Justin Webb
Britain etc. – Mark Easton