Okay, the truth can now come out: the night of my last post was the actual launch of Messages and Your Messages…only I couldn’t say it because the event was mega-oversubscribed and even one more person would have popped the place like the fabled ‘wafer thin mint’ (it would have).

What a night. Buzzy from start to finish, and the work was top notch: hilarious, thoughtful and moving by turns. Thank goodness I wear waterproof mascara, let me put it that way. I was particularly struck by the pieces read by Oz Hardick, Caroline Smailes, Bob (erroneously Bill!) Merckel, Clare Grant, Mary Rose Rawlinson, Gina Benson, Ken Elkes — and of course Alex Johnson (of shedworking)’s final Your Messages riff. And actually, now that I look at the book, I know there were others I thoroughly enjoyed, and many more fine examples held in the pages. Once again, well done to Lynne and Sarah. A hugely successful and generous project, a catalyst for so many.

Gina Benson had come all the way from TEXAS for the occasion. It was her first published piece and by common consensus, a doozie. She and her friend were wonderful, as was Bob M, another American…We exchanged home thoughts, raining-in-Britain observations etc, and, as always happens in these situations, my all-time favourite Texas bumper sticker spread itself across the backwall of my brain, like some kind of flypost. I saw it the last time I landed in Houston, on the freeway back to Beaumont:

Texas bumper sticker

As a native Texan, my heart thrills to this. It encapsulates everything but everything about that simultaneously overblown and self-deprecating state. Love it.

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