Thursday, 15 September 2011

A warm bath

After a long, heavy day at the 77th PEN Congress I decided to forego the cultural evening laid on by our hosts – with no reflection on our Serbian hosts, who have been excellent – and go for a quiet dinner alone to be followed by some personal reading and, hopefully, some work on my novel.  As I wandered into the restaurant, however, I found myself bumping into a couple of PEN delegates from Australia and New Zealand.  Half an hour later our table had accumulated other PEN stragglers from Turkey, Senegal and Somalia and a wonderful dinner ensued with conversation taking in African myths, post-Islamic philosophy, dreams and Antipodean opera.  I barely knew the names of any of my dinner companions before this evening but we all parted with embraces and the thought expressed by Nelson Wattie, our new Kiwi friend, that the evening had been like a warm bath for the mind.

Back in my room I skyped home then fell fast asleep around midnight, with no writing done.  Awoke at four thirty with my recently bathed mind feeling refreshed and spent two hours rewriting a chapter that had been bothering me.  Felt so good afterwards I went on to complete this little entry rather than try for an hour’s shuteye.  Going for an actual warm bath for the body now with the hope I don’t feel too exhausted at the Congress sessions later today.  Either way, it was worth it.

Drew Campbell

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