A Hopey-Changey Post

bookheap     Thanks first to all those who sent messages of support/death threats to my publisher/offers of a long-term let of their garden shed. My book proposal, revamped because I refused to accept that it was totally crap, is being reconsidered and may yet live. But what with one thing and another I’m not likely to hear the news, good or bad, till mid-May.  So two more weeks of unpaid leave. What to do?

‘You could dust the top of that wardrobe,’ whispers the ghost of my dear departed Mum. Well yes. But I thought I’d begin by tackling the twenty seven books on the floor beside the bed.  My husband put his head round the door and asked what I was doing. I said, ‘There are going to be some long overdue changes in this room.’ He fled.

Books-to-read can be hard to account for. Some of mine must have seemed like a good idea at the time, some were recommendations, some were just things I felt I ought to read.  Three went straight in the bag for the charity shop, others may follow, perhaps after a speed-read. It can be hard to back down from a decision made and good money spent even if it was three years ago but I’m trying to approach this the same way I would the can of sardines (best before May 2015) that lurks in the kitchen cupboard. Use it/read it RIGHT NOW or pass it along. Let it gather dust beside someone else’s bed.

And speaking of passing things along, if you don’t know The Writer’s Almanac subscribe to it at once. It has an American bias but nonetheless, a poem in your inbox plus a bit of literary arcana is a very pleasant way to start the day. That and a bucket of black tea and I’m good for anything. Check out the posting for April 28th: Dan Albergotti’s Things to Do in the Belly of a Whale.


  1. LDD on April 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I recently cleared out my own books as we were having work done on the house. Many boxes found their way to the charity shop yet I couldn’t bring myself to part with any of yours. Keep the faith and keep writing 🙂

  2. Priscilla Polk on May 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Ms. Graham,

    I just finished reading The Grand Duchess of Nowhere… a delightful way to glimpse history from a personal vantage point. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have spent the last few hours Googling the only personal bit of Russian connection I have…Elizabeth Shoumatoff…of an aristocratic family, an emigre (to the United States) in 1917. She painted my family’s portraits.

    You must have enjoyed all the research for your book. While Googling various members of the family in the genealogy that you kindly supplied at the front of the book (and to which I referred to countlessly, thank you!), I was reminded of all the political/familial maneuvering between Britain, Germany and Russia.

    So, after delighting myself on history and White Russian specifics for several hours this morning, I checked out your blog. And lo and behold, April 28th’s entry reminded me of my own stack of books in my bedroom. I am not a writer, and so don’t spend hours researching or penning words, but my pile is similar to yours…although somewhat larger. Perhaps it is not a question of time however. Could it be that I simply covet books, that I am a procrastinator, that I love being outdoors or granny-ing five little ones? Whatever. I love books, history, art, music, literature, and it was a pleasure to have immersed myself in history, in your words the last two nights.

    Cheers from across the pond.

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