As part of my efforts to develop my writing I am working my way through a book by Louise Doughty called A Novel In A Year, based on a column she write a few years ago in The Daily Telegraph. The main part of the book consists of weekly exercises. I am now on Week 2, where the requirement is to immerse oneself in contemporary fiction. Tough job, although my energy is such that I am probably only going to complete one book. Fortunately it is a great read: Lustrum by Robert Harris, a political thriller set in Ancient Rome, with Cicero as the central character. Harris is one of the most economical writers I have ever come across, his writing skills having been honed originally in journalism, where wasted words mean lost readers—as a rule, that is; who does not remember with affection the labyrinthine sentences of the late Bernard Levin?
I have a stack of other novels to dive into, the fruit of my chronic book addiction. I have vowed not to buy any more books until I have finished the ones I have got and I now have a few months ahead of me in which to catch up with my reading. Trouble at the moment is that I keep falling asleep.
I force myself out of the door each day for an errand or two or just for a stroll. By lunchtime today the sun was shining out of a clear blue sky, which was a welcome incentive to leave the house, even if my ultimate destination was the local barn of a Tesco. That giant company has pulled off quite a trick in having a slogan with the word “little” in it. I took them at their word and bought only two items, resisting the urge to add dark chocolate to my shopping basket.
Meanwhile back in Techieville, I await the MAC code from my existing internet provider that will enable me to migrate to a new service. I hope I do not have to make another stroppy phone call tomorrow.
|Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC).|
Statesman, orator, philosopher, lawyer, prolific letter writer.
His writings are the gold standard of Latin prose.