←Back to Julia's Diary

Tuesday 9th December 2003


I spent the weekend in Brighton. It seemed to me to be the most glittering, magical place, with the floodlit pavilion, and great swarms of birds around the piers. It is the perfect place to set a novel, with lovely street names, and such nooks and crannies! I ran a workshop with a wonderful group of women, who were bursting with creativity, then I did a reading, organised by The South and Arc Press with the Irish poet Tony Curtis, who read and spoke beautifully about life and poetry. It was a very happy weekend. It’s funny, because just before I go to places, I often feel a sense of dread and fear, but usually I love meeting new people and doing new things. Brighton was particularly nice because my sister Josie and her family live there. Also, years ago I lived there, after I left art college. I had a job working in the Lanes in a jewelery shop, and my best friend worked as a lifeguard down on the beach. We spent a year writing songs and struggling with the women’s movement, being bullied by older girls, and sitting in vast frightening meetings. These were the days when women would storm into ones house demanding that one renounced the penis (Actually, I said I would, but my friend refused). We went on marches to reclaim the night, and stuck up the locks of porn shops with super glue. Now my daughter is doing a project about feminism and violent action ! That’s me, I tell her! I was climbing the gates of parliament, and wearing Chinese trousers! Anyway, being in Brighton brought it all back. It was such a chance thing, leaving the South to come up North. I just hitch hiked up the M1, and never left. I wonder if I would have written books set in Brighton?

Anyway, I have a new title for the latest novel, thanks to the writer Bridget O’Connor, who should get an award for her capacity to think up titles…(she also thought up ‘Crocodile Soup.’) It’s ‘The Cure For Dying’ What do you think?

This week I am working on ‘A Film In A Week’ down at Live Theatre. I spent the morning loafing about the coach station watching the cameraman and director sorting out angles. In the end I got a bit cold so I came to my writing room. One day I will get behind a camera and make my own wobbly film! Still, it’s exciting to have a short script made…even if it is only three minutes.

Otherwise, like everyone else, I am full of Christmas nerve endings, like a faulty set of fairy lights.