steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Not Tokyo Bound but Earthbound

This morning I should have been travelling to Heathrow, there to board a plane that would have taken me to Tokyo for the next six weeks. It would have been my first taste of autumn in Japan, a season that's normally inaccessible because of my teaching duties, but which a semester's research leave had prised opened like an oyster. Alas, in the words of the poet:

O moul, thou marres a myry juele,
My privy perle wythouten spotte.

So anyway, yesterday I showed Ayako Stanton Drew, which she really liked - perhaps because, unlike some other stone circles we could mention, it lacks any vestige of commercialisation. Whenever I go there there's always at least one person hanging about (yesterday a middle-aged American in Lycra), and we have the statutory conversation about what a fine circle it is, and how it's strange that no one much comes to see it, considering how close it is to Bristol. Then, quite a party of young men and women came walking among the stones, and we were forced to lament Stanton Drew's relative abandonment in a large huddle. The sky was romantic in a smudgy, watercolourish way.


In the evening I watched the Diana Wynne Jones crowdcast event, which I'd had a small part in organising. Colin (Diana's youngest), his colleague the children's writer Katherine Rundell, and Neil Gaiman all spoke very well and warmly. Gaiman mentioned that DWJ was always honest in her appraisal of his books, and gave him both praise and constructive criticism. I can vouch for this myself, but in particular it brought back the time when she read my Death of a Ghost and told me that she'd written me a long email about it. That email I never received, so I asked her to resend it, but she never did, or at least it never reached me.

To this day, I don't know whether the email was full of praise or criticism. I'd like to think the former, but the latter seems more likely, given that it never found its way to me. Perhaps it's better that way round, but not knowing is (like so many things) a little frustrating.
Tags: bristol, diana wynne jones, nippon notes

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