Monday, October 06, 2008

Doing your bit

Have done a couple of speaking engagements - a small book festival where I spoke after a very nice man called Nobby, and a luncheon for a local hospice trust. After the book came out, I volunteered to do a reading for the cancer charity if they wanted me to and when they came back to me, they wanted me to speak at a lunch. Speaking after lunch means sitting through the meal too nervous to eat and unable to even have a glass of wine incase you start slurring your words and get a reputation as a lush. The reading went OK, but the chairman made me laugh because when I had finished taking questions, he told the 77-strong audience that 2% of men would think I was great and 98% would run a mile. He also used the word "granite" to describe me. He said some nice stuff too, but for some reason the compliment train went straight through my brain without stopping. It took me a few minutes to realise he must have read my recent blog-rant, in which case he had probably sat through my own introductory words, reading and subsequent Q and A, waiting for me to say "fuck" infront of all the nice hospice friends and kindly donors. The organiser told me later that the lunch made £1,224.35. The only problem (apart from the revelation I am the polar opposite of catnip to men) was that I picked up a five-day migraine driving home. I blame a combination of acute nervous anxiety prior to the "event" and my mother's "outfit" - more particularly, the gold sequined scarf which she had draped stylishly across her shoulders. Unusually, it was a sunny day, and driving back across the autumnal moors - my mother sitting in the front passenger seat complete with scarf - gold spangles tattoed the sunvisor, the windscreen glass, and apparently the inside of my skull.

Also appearing on the newsstands this month is a desperately depressing article on stillbirth I wrote for Marie Claire.(Do not read this without a large brandy in hand - damn the neighbours thinking you are a lush. You are a lush. Embrace your fate.) The magazine kindly agreed to donate the £1,000 fee to a pregnancy research charity. That makes over £2,200 for charity this week. I rarely allow myself a feeling of achievement - I am far too superstitious and dark a creature. But courtesy of the fact speaking is an ordeal, and writing the article left me wrung out for a week afterwards, (and despite the pain-wracked distraction of someone attempting to file the sharp edges off my eyeballs), I allowed myself the suspicion that actually, this week anyway, I did alright.