FarmLife, October 31, 2015

garden 15

Today I return to the farm. The last time I was there I almost broke my back picking apples from trees that fringe the high grass for minutes and minutes beyond the view of the main house and stables. I had spent the whole day making compote yet there were tons of apples left and another tree still laden, the fruit now falling to the ground with a sigh, with a muffled tut.

Today I’ll almost break my back again bumping that wheelbarrow (how many times this time?) back to the house. Then the kitchen will be warm, sweet-smelling and sticky. I imagine that I am two generations older and that grandchildren will soon come charging in to lick out the pots. They’ll get their knuckles rapped! It tastes so much nicer when it’s hot, they’ll say. Later, I will fall into bed, into the arms of a man who too wants his share of sweet stickiness. What else to do but laugh and I give in, the both of us happy for the night; for its rewards for a hard day’s work.


This piece started its life as an email to a friend, but then it wouldn’t let me go so I elaborated it, my mind already linking it to a new novel high on my To Do list. The farm, a place I like to retreat to, where physical work offers a welcomed change. Soothing. The bath at the end of the day all the more delicious. Notes about life there could well become a regular feature on my blog. Let’s see

who wants to live forever?


thinker statue edit 2
photo copyright © 2011, joan barbara simon



Chewing this over with my teenage daughter over breakfast one morning. I speak English, she answers in French:


Me: can ideas exist forever?
Her: yes, of course they can.
Me:  why?
Her:  because.
Me:  that’s not an answer.
Her:  if an idea has been thought, it exists.
Me:  so you mean every idea that has ever been thought, exists?
Her:  yes, because someone will still know they exist.
Me:  what about ideas that have never been written down, ideas that have been forgotten? Let’s say I have an idea but don’t tell anyone about it or write it down, and then I forget it, does it still exist?
Her:  it still exists.
Me:  but how can my idea exist if I’ve forgotten it?
Her:  you’re so self-centered (she says nombriliste in French, nombril being my belly button…). An idea doesn’t need you to exist!
An idea doesn’t need me to exist… all my ruminations on fiction and reality annihilated in an axiomatic instant. It takes me some time to recover. I stare at my daughter, who returns the gaze and notches it up one as if to say: wot you staring at?
Me:  so, ideas don’t… need… us… to exist… would you say God is an immortal idea?
Her:  yes. God is an immortal idea. And ideas don’t need you to continue to exist.
She keeps staring at me staring at her staring at me. How comes she finds (so) easy what I find (so) hard?

Writing not for agents and publishers, but for you, the reader: Matthew Temple

Matthew Temple books
Hello again! In this post I’ve decided to feature a fellow author I’ve been writing to quite a lot recently; Matthew Temple. We’ve taken different approaches to marketing our work and I must say that the more I talk to Matthew, the more I admire him. Here’s what he has to say about mainstream publishing:
I’ve spent so many years sending out thousands of query letters to literary agents and it’s fruitless.  They don’t want to publish what I’m writing.  I did briefly publish Things Said in Dreams with a small press, then finally broke my contract with them and put it on my website for free.  Now all my books are free.  I feel better about that.  I think the publishing industry needs a revolution—the publisher takes way too much of the profits, for doing something anyone can do, while the author takes the small part of the profits, when what they did takes a lifetime to learn and is the essential product. It is the total product.  I’d rather say fuck you to publishers who do that. I’d rather give it all away for free and be poor for the rest of my life than go along with something I think is immoral: thievery by the publishing company.
Someday it’ll change, I think.  Till then, I just forget about everything except the writing. That’s all I can control—and not even that fully.  But I just write the best thing I can, that’s my whole job and I have to let go of the illusion that I control anything else.
matthew temple photo
Matthew Temple
For more of his view on the topic – and the hiccups that come along with it –  visit Matthew’s blog. Take the time to discover and recommend his books. Every single one for FREE!