the red house 05-07-2010

i did a very brief reading at the oxfam shop on marylebone high st this morning as part of the 24 hour oxfam bookfest readathon. i assumed it would be impolite to read from my own work but esther freud read from her as-yet-unpublished new novel so i reholstered my silas marner and read from the red house the novel i'm writing at the moment and which, fortuitously, i had in my bag for editing on the hoof. the traffic on the high st and the comings and goings of customers proved a good test of whether it could hold people's attention, which it did. I'm about 30,000 words in and it finally has momentum, but it's been a long haul (i've just noticed a previous entry last december in which i announce cheerfully that i'm under way, so whatever i say should be taken with a pinch of salt). on the train on the way home i was perversely reassured by reading hermione lee's introduction to virginia woolf's the years in which she detailed the interminable, painful and tortuous genesis of the novel (impossible... eternal... incredibly dreary... my vomit... i'm so sick of it... never again... failure... failure).

here are two of the illustrations so far: