Posted by: Corri van de Stege | October 26, 2008

The Sunday Salon – an hour extra which does not seem to make the day any more manageable

Sunday again and although it promised to be a longer day, with one thing and another it is passing by and I am unable to catch up with myself, even with this extra time on hand. 

I have once more edited my short story and concluded that I should not have signed up for this writing course – I simply cannot give it the time that it needs.  I’m bumbling along and for as long as there is the dayjob with all its demands for writing and research, I cannot dedicate enough time to something that I want to do well, if at all.  And that is the nub of the problem.  Wanting to give it my best.

As part of the investigation into script writing and drama I treated myself and husband to a play by Ayckbourn in the Old Vic, where the three plays The Norman Conquest are being performed.  They’ve had full star reviews, and the one we saw, Living Together, was a top rate performance.  I am intrigued by the cleverness of writing such intricate plays that are funny and keep you completely absorbed.  The performance and the dialogues are a great boost to my thinking about writing for the stage, but more importantly, as far as I am concerned, to thinking about character development and how characters need to be ‘true to themselves’ throughout, consistent, human and real, for any story to work. 

Meanwhile I’m almost through reading John Berger’s G which was published in 1972 and won the Booker Prize, then.  This was on my reading list because his most recent novel ‘From A to X’ was on the long list for the Booker Prize this year, however, did not make it to the short list.  I had not read any John Berger so far and wanted to start somewhere else.  Another reason for wanting to read this is because John Berger is considered to be a novelist who mixes or defies genres and boundaries.  I was intrigued to find out what was meant by that.

G is a strange ‘novel’, difficult to come to grips with.  I wonder if you have read it and what your thoughts are.  I will try and write a longer review of it when I have finished it.  It’s still in my Sunday Salon, with all the newspapers.  But for now I will continue with the work report, which has a Monday deadline.  That one is about libraries.  Very apt.  Innovative ways of delivering skills and education through libraries.  How is that for a project?

Tonight I shall set aside time to watch the first instalment of Little Dorrit on tv.  Last week’s Sunday papers , as well as today’s, recommend the book by Dickens  as one of the few books that deal with the financial world even if not set in today’s credit crunch revelations.



  1. So much in this entry and so much to respond to!!! I hear ya on the writing crunch but still cheer you on regarding the class you signed up for … until we quite our “day” jobs, I think we have to stretch and stretch and stretch in all the different writing we do and want to do. But oh my, it can be exhausting and we can from time to time come up short on our own personal expectations. Nevertheless, I think it’s awesome you are taking that class AND working AND going to plays AND reviewing books.
    Now, about John Berger, I know absolutely nothing. He’s going on the list I keep here at the PC (in case anyone in the house ever wants to knw a book I would like …!) and then? I’m going to go rake some leaves and think.

  2. When ‘The Norman Conquest’ was first staged I saw all three parts over one weekend. It was a wonderful experience and one I’ve never forgotten. I think Ayckbourn is often dismissed as a lightweight writer whereas in fact his ability to both analyse and empathise with the human situation is superb. Do you know ‘Woman in Mind’? It is absolutely heart-breaking and well worth reading if you can’t find a production.

  3. You sound like you have a lot on your plate!

    I’ve only read Berger’s Ways of Seeing, so am interested to hear about his novel.

    I’ve not yet read Little Dorrit, but I think Trollope’s The way we live now is even more apt for the current financial crisis.

  4. I’m trying to whittle away my TBR pile while tackling the Booker shortlist. But as always, I will be sidetracked. Your post reminds me that I have to read John Berger. Very much likely I’ll start with G.

  5. oh: not sure if you’ll like John Berger – it needs perseverance, but it is definitely different!
    Ann: lucky you having seen all three! I agree, the play is funny but not lightweight at all. And no, I have neither seen nor read Woman in Mind: for the tbr pile, definitely!
    Sarah: wonder what you think of Berger’s Ways of Seeming? Have you reviewed it?
    Matthew: John Berger is not the easiest of writers I think, and it is a very distinctive style of writing, setting novels in almost an essay-like historical context

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