Friday, 21 May 2010

Hack in the Box

So I took my turn in Henry Layte's The Book Hive window, to add my episode to the others written so far by Henry Sutton, Sam Jordison, Rebecca Stott, D.J. Taylor, Rachel Hore, Sam Riviere, Luke Wright, Jeremy Page, Sheridan Winn, Tom Cox, John Osborne (not the dead one), Eloise Millar and Anjali Joseph as Hacks in the Box. I am the penultimate hack, with only Anjali to come. The text is not marked as to which part is written by whom, nor are the divisions clear, but a careful eye can see the joins. Henry Sutton began it, with a piece of head-on Suttoniana of comedy and suppressed rage. Things move on from there.

It's hot in the window cubby hole that contains a stool, a desk and a Mac iBook with the story up on the screen. I remove my jacket, hand it to Henry for safe keeping, then sit to read through, which, with interruptions from a welcome public, takes a good half hour. Seeing as our stint is to be roughly an hour this does not leave very much time for all those visions and revisions that a moment will reverse. Everyone, including the poets, has written prose. I am determined to produce verse, so, after a little thinking I spot a possibility to do so without completely breaking the continuity. I spend about half an hour writing verse. The verse-writing is occasionally interrupted by other welcome members of the public. I enjoy writing verse and I write it fast so it doesn't feel like an imposition. I hope the verse is not an imposition for Anjali who is due the same time tomorrow.

As soon as the text is done and checked for typos it goes to press and is ready by next Thursday when we celebrate with drinks at the shop.

I don't do adverts but The Book Hive is irresistible. It is a dream of a shop, with gorgeously chosen off-the-beaten-track books, a children's section in a special children's room, a poetry section upstairs, a coffee machine, magazines and nooks and crannies, like a tiny version of Shakespeare and Company in Paris.

It's independent and we who write books will strive to keep it alive and vibrant so that those who read books (that is including ourselves) might come in and feel civilised and enchanted.


Sam Jordison said...

My google vanity alert service brought me to this post, which I very much enjoyed. Can only agree about the Book Hive. A very fine shop. Looking forward to reading the finished book... Most impressed you turned to verse. Your contribution will be easy to spot...

George S said...

As a veteran of other people's bad dates, Sam, welcome to a good one of your own.