Thursday, 28 February 2019

Plaster casts, knee scooters, cats and obsessive editing, by Enid Richemont

My much-delayed operation, total ankle replacement surgery, is finally happening on February 15th, so by the time you're reading this, I'll be recovering in hospital, with a knee to foot plaster cast, and my life will have changed forever. So far, I've managed to avoid breaking a limb, so being in plaster will be a new experience for me - unwelcome, but necessary if I am to avoid either a wheelchair or a mobility scooter. Apart from that, my other nightmare will be dependency, and the necessary, but depressing, mobility equipment, with, possibly, the exception of a knee scooter, which does sound like fun. If you haven't yet encountered these, they are a clever alternative to crutches, which, so far, I'm unable to deal with. Imagine an adult-sized scooter, but with extra wheels for turning in small spaces - you simply put the leg in plaster on a padded support, and scoot with the other leg, meaning some kind of exercise. It also means I can 'park' it - it has brakes - and do things with my hands, which is impossible on crutches.

The image (above right) has nothing at all to do with any of this, but it's one of my favourite postcards and decades old, so I thought I'd share it. It's a very old Camden Graphics card, and after all these years, I finally checked the name of the artist - it's Louise Voce, so I googled her, to discover she is? was? one of the illustrators at Walker Books, my first publishers. I now need to discover more about her, at which the Internet is brilliant. Other postcards I collected from around that period, and related in feeling, are the 'cat' images - every possible pun around the many words beginning with CAT. 'Catastrophe' (as in 'Brexit') anyone? 'Catapult'? 'Catankerous'? In this case, I think the artist was French, but I may well be wrong. Anyone know? Oh how much the visual and literary world owes to cats!

For years I've been going back to my two quite lengthy adult novels: "COUNTERPOINT" and "THE RECURRENCE OF RED". They're actually linked, although no one reading them would guess. I suppose every book has its personal history. A novel I've just finished has a very curious one which leaves me totally baffled. Like many such works, it features a dystopia, in this case one in which all senses and emotions are supressed medically. I read it on the Kindle, and then went on to read the author's account of what happened after it was published (to great acclaim,and the author became very well known and still is, which is why I'm not posting details here.) It seems that many people were offended by the book, and even death threats were made, to the extent that the author was advised not to visit a certain American city. Now this novel has no sex scenes, although sexual feelings are very slightly hinted at, and no references AT ALL to any religion, yet one reader complained about Jesus being somewhat miffed. Americans can certainly be very strange.


Lastly, editing - does it ever stop? Even when the book's actually published? Thoughts on this, please, as I get obsessive.

The image on the right is one of politics in a nutshell, and not for the sensitive. The storyline was via my dearest friend and editor Anne Carter, and Jan Pienkowski did the paper sculptures - each spread featuring an open mouth. DINNER TIME indeed!




4 comments:

Bill Kirton said...

First, obviously, I hope everything went well, that the mobility solution has worked, and that life has indeed changed for the better.
Next, I love your approach to marketing and promotion as exemplified in the comment on your two novels: 'They're actually linked, although no one reading them would guess'. Inspired!
Finally, some other stimulus (I don't remember the specifics) sent me to look at 'Dinner Time' recently, and you're right, the sculptures are inspired.

Sandra Horn said...

Dear Hopalong, I hope all went well and that you are adapting to the temporary necessity of being somewhat less than totally independent. You are amazing.

Cecilia Peartree said...

I hope the knee scooter is as good as it sounds and that everything else has gone well too.

Umberto Tosi said...

I hope all has gone well with your surgery and you are up and running on that ankle in short order, with or without knee scooter. Best with your ongoing books as well!