Here Endeth the Lesson

I’ve learned several things this week.

1. That a new playground, in a new town, is just like being the new kid at school. Seriously. You don’t believe me? Fresh from the shiny hell of the first “settling-in” session at Small Boy’s new nursery (which, I’ve come to realise, is just code for: “an hour where you will sit and watch just how appalling small children really are to each other. And also how far that kid over there can stick a piece of chalk up his nose before one of the staff hauls him off to the nurse…”) we hit the park and playground over the road. It is, to be fair, a spectacular playground–and as you can imagine, on the first of the warm, spring-y Friday afternoons this year, it was packed.

We stepped through the gate. It creaked behind us, and slammed shut with an ominous clang. Every pair of eyes suddenly turned our way. All of them. Even the seagulls’.

It was terrifying: for a minute, I found myself thinking of poor old Edward Woodward pitching up on Summerisle. And then, after what felt like an hour, everyone just went straight back to what they were doing in the first place. But I’ll be keeping a very close eye on things–first hint of a maypole and I’m off.

2. Moving house is the work of the devil. The less said about this the better. Onwards.

3. I have been incredibly foolish in not reading Joe Hill‘s “Heart-Shaped Box” sooner. I’ve meant to read it, in a flimsy sort of way, for a while, but I’ve finally got round to it and I’m hooked. There’s something about the flow of Hill’s sentences, his language, that really appeals to me–and it manages to pull off the trick of being genuinely creepy without being trite.

4. Re: the above? Do not read books like “Heart-Shaped Box” in a flat with dodgy wiring, where the lights are prone to random flickering. It doesn’t do much for your sanity.

5. That the simplest ideas are often the most spectacular. I mentioned back on Monday that Amanda Rutter had asked on Twitter why the specfic community didn’t have a response to the Japan crisis, and as a result, a group of us formed Genre for Japan. We closed to donations of auction lots on Friday, and as far as I’m aware, we’ve now received close to 140. There’s some incredibly special things in there–and I’m not just saying that because I’m one of the people running it.

We’ve been genuinely overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity. It goes far and beyond anything we imagined, and in the meantime, we’ve been featured in the Guardian books blog, Publisher’s Weekly and on Bleeding Cool, to name just a few. It’s been incredibly hard work getting it up and running, but it’s worth it: it feels like everyone has really thrown their weight behind it to make it a real community event, and one I’m so proud to be a part of.

If you’ve not looked at the site yet, do go and browse: we’ve listed most (but not quite all) of our lots, although the auctions don’t open until Monday. They run all week, closing Sunday night. Take a good look around–I’m sure you’ll find at least one thing you can’t live without!–and bid. Every single penny we raise goes directly to the BRC’s Japan Tsunami appeal.

6. This is possibly the most important lesson of them all. This is really one to live by.

You ready?

When shaking a bottle of juice, for god’s sake, make sure the lid’s on properly, would you?

My hoodie is never going to be the same again…..

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