Sunday, 26 July 2009

a good day for bad news

I think I am sharing my bed with some rather amorous bugs because I keep waking up with lots of frenzied bites on my legs and back. Much as I appreciate their rabid attention I think a course of extermination may be in order. Or I could probably buy a new mattress at Souk al Hamidiyya and be done with it. I can practice saying ‘adesh’ (how much?) and feel smug.

Today I had bread straight from the oven for breakfast. It is so pleasant to stroll down the street and pick up my food fresh off the street. Orange juice from Ali, bread from Assad – I mean I say this now of course – later when the food turns I will have panging thoughts for Sainsbury’s. I have just finished a short Arabic lesson for the day. I am not naturally gifted in the world of pronunciation ( a fact confirmed by an Italian teacher many years ago who said my pronunciation was ‘an abomination’ – I don’t tend to use that sort of language with my students. I find it can be a tad disheartening.)My Syrian friend is trying his best to give me lessons. Susan allows him into her sacred courtyard because he is ‘my teacher’ which holds a lot more water around these gossipy streets than ‘a friend’. It seems that it is just not possible in their minds for a man and woman to be friends without some sort of frenzied passion taking place behind closed doors. I tend to listen to him talk more about Syrian life than I do learn Arabic. He tells his stories almost crying with laughter/ sorrow and then at the end will raise his hands and exclaim ‘but what I do’.

I have just received very disappointing news that my publisher, Swimming Kangaroo, is going under thanks to the recession. Right now I feel quite heartbroken about it as they aren't far enough in the editing process to continue with my story so I will be released. I always knew this was a bit of a risk with a smaller indie publisher and they had admitted to having problems earlier so I suppose deep down there must have always been a part of me cushioned for a blow. It still hurts though and I'm really trying to put this in the perspective it deserves. I have my heath ( now!) I have a good job, I have an imagination and right now I am living a magical existence here in Damascus. So the road has thrown me another obstacle, I'm sure I'll find my way round it some how. And in the meantime I can celebrate my small writing triumphs and value them even more for what they mean to me :-)

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