Had a pleasant dream this morning, in which I complimented a rugby-dad on his taut stomach and persuaded him that mine was not a bit wobbly – as he suggested – but actually nice and soft. He seemed convinced.
I awoke feeling both confident in the influential power of words, and cheerfully susceptible, when along strode Keith Ridgway. Not the most promising of names, but who needs a potent name when you write like Keith Ridgway; I have admitted to being impressionable, but I think that even at my most sullen and impervious I would have been knocked sideways by him. This is the start of the story that sucked me into his vortex:
I am ill. I have been ill for some time. Years now. It has become years.
I believe, though I cannot prove, that my illness is due directly to the perverted Catholicism and megalomania of Mr Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, whom I met once, whose hand I physically shook (at which point he assaulted me), and who, if you should mention my name to him, will tell you that he met me, or that he did not meet me, or that he cannot recall. Because he has all the answers.
You can read the rest here and I implore you to do so. It is genius, and I don’t use that word lightly. The story is an extract from his recent book Hawthorn and Child, which has now leapt to the top of my reading list.
Next, I found an interesting piece in The New Yorker in which he tries to evade the question of How To Write:
… I wait in terror for the judgements of those others—judgements that seem, whether positive or negative, unjust, because they are about something that I didn’t really do. They are about something that happened to me. It’s a little like crawling from a car crash to be greeted by a panel of strangers holding up score cards.
So, he is genius, witty and wise. But – whatever – it’s all cerebral. Until I find his blog. And this post, which is open and charming and written in a minor key like only the Irish can do, and ends:
All you can really hope for is that the love you feel is not wasted. And you can tell yourself that even if it is – even if it is wasted – it is still love.
And, oh, haven’t we all felt like that and he knows. He knows, and he feels my pain and I feel his pain and – oh! – I want to marry this man!
But then I notice the strap line on his Twitter account begins: queer Irish writers are two a penny but I cost a pound.
Looks like we could be fighting over that rugby-dad. I’ll win though, because he likes my nice, soft, belly.