Photo credit: mbell1975
‘Oh politics!’ exclaimed Dan as if that was the end of the matter.
‘But I was stopped in the street. A huge furry thing thrust in my face. Polly paused. ‘It was embarrassing.’
Dan looked marginally more interested. ‘Did you say anything?’
‘That’s what I’m trying to tell you! It was humiliating. Like failing an exam. I’d had quite a good day up to then. Jack actually asked my opinion. I answered him.’
‘It’s no good talking to you.’ Dan returned to the sports section.
‘Of course I didn’t say anything. How could I say anything when I don’t know anything. You tell me that often enough. Do you want a drink?’
‘I’ll get it.’ Dan sprang to his feet.
With a glass in his hand he was more sociable. Polly stared at him over the kitchenette bar. How handsome he was! She had almost forgotten about the reporter.
‘What did he ask you?’
‘The reporter. TV was it?’
‘Him.’ Polly smiled. ‘I don’t know why I cared. I’ve never got the point of politics. I just felt stupid at the time. There were people queuing to give their opinions. Do you think I should go on twitter, Dan?’
‘You still haven’t told me what he asked you.’
Polly came and sat on the arm of Dan’s chair. She stroked his hair lovingly. ‘I don’t know. It was about this election thing, who I wanted to win. If I went on twitter, I might want to know more.’
‘Opinions and knowledge are not the same thing. You know a lot about household utilities.’ Dan put down his drink and slid his hand under Polly’s skirt.’
Polly pretended not to notice. ‘That’s because I’m paid to know. If I went on twitter, I might become more involved.’
‘Involvement, is that what you want.’ Dan, hand moving under the skirt, watched the flush rise on Polly’s face. ‘I’d say you were pretty involved right now.’
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Rachel with a Spitfire
At the moment I’m working on my next novel, WHIRLIGIG, about a Spitfire pilot during WWII. (See photo).So while I’m head down (or sometimes in the clouds) it seems a good time to highlight some of my short stories, both published and unpublished.. There was a bookcase in my childhood home where one shelf held a row of small green volumes, the complete set of Chekhov stories. In the long school holidays when I’d read every novel in the house, I turned to these volumes, picking at random and immediately entering the absorbing world of nineteenth century Russia. Each story was excitingly complete, nasty old men, vain young men, clever girls, scheming women caught vividly in the spotlight of the great master’s imagination. Since then I’ve always read and written short stories, aware of the challenges working in an art form where each word must count, unlike in novels where you can build with sentences. Here is my latest very short story, inspired by recent political jockeying.
Rachel, Gillian Slovo,Alastair Niven (all former Presidents of English PEN) and Jonathan Heawood (CEO of IMPRESS) in discussion about freedom and censorship.
Guildhall High Street, Windsor. 2.30pm
- October 15
Susie Dent (Countdown) in conversation with Rachel (Patron of the Sherborne Literary Festival), about her book Modern Tribes: The Secret Languages of Britain.
Digby Hall, Sherborne at 7.0pm
Rachel is giving the Annual Lecture in aid of Friends of Kensington Day Centre.
St John’s Church, Lansdowne Crescent, London W11 2NN
7.0pm Drinks and Canapes. 7.45 Lecture and Book Signing of ‘Glory’