Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
On Wednesday October 10th at 7.30pm in the Marlowe Theatre Bar, in
Canterbury, Scatterlings are putting on another of their evenings of poetry
A varied programme of thought-provoking, entertaining and (sometimes) comic
poetry from the prize-winning trio of poets - Mark Holihan, Geraldine Paine
and Sue Rose - two of whom are shortlisted for the 2007 Canterbury Poet of
the Year Award; sharp lyrics and heady music from Steve
Antoni, London-based singer-songwriter, who has performed all over the
country, including London's Ronnie Scott's and Maidstone's Soul Café; and
jazz and classical standards from Kevin Kay-Bradley, trumpeter and pianist,
who has played at Westminster Palace, among other places. The evening, which
will be MC'd by Lynne Rees, should be great fun - so why not come along?
Tickets (£7.50/£6.50) from the Marlowe Box Office on 01227 787787
We would also appreciate it if you could send this email on to any lists you
think may find this of interest.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Sue Rose/Geraldine Paine/Mark Holihan for Scatterlings
...a soap opera worth watching. This news story about the death of Flower, the queen of Meerkat Manor, has whetted my appetite. I love meerkats, and this paragraph from the studio executives about the consequences of Flower's death is just classic:
Up in the air now is the fate of Zaphod, Flower's partner and the dominant male of the Whiskers mob. If losing his mate proves too much to handle, his brother Youssarian—a former top meerkat who has been pegged as having "social problems"—could rise again.
Flower and Zaphod's son, Mitch, also has exhibited leadership qualities in the wake of his brother Shakespeare's death, and he could be a force to be reckoned with, as well.
It's also unsure who will become the new female leader of the extensive clan. Flower's daughter Mozart is a possibility, but despite being caring and compassionate, she has estranged herself from the family more than once.
And just to get me even more excited, there's a good game here. Anyone want to join my mob? You get free lemonade and a special handshake... Alex, where are you?
Friday, September 28, 2007
Anyway, this fact just exemplifies why I LOVE fashion - and it's how the pencil skirt, this season's must-have, was inspired. Apparently, it was influenced by Mrs Hart Berg, the first American woman to fly in a plane, and who tied rope around her skirts to keep them from flapping in flight.
So now you know - it'll certainly be a comfort to me that I don't have to look like a pencil as I hobble around.
I just love looking at it - there's something so soothing about the colours, but also in the texture of the textiles, which is why it hangs just outside my bedroom. It's designed by Anne Kelly, and, because I know Anne, it's been fascinating to see how an artist develops her work through the years and also the influences - travel, family, life - that seem to form a dialogue between her and her work. This is, of course, the same with writing but it takes longer for books to come out, which means its harder to read the clues. And there's always the feeling that, by the end of the book, you aren't the same person who started out writing it. I'm not sure whether it's the same for artists, but I'm interested in that.
And because the picture above doesn't do Anne's work justice, here's something I nicked off her website.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I heard about the Kids Company first when the founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, was interviewed on the radio about the constant struggle to get funding and I couldn't help wondering what it must be like, day in, day out, persuading people to give money for something she could see was working so well. This is a quote taken from the newsletter from one of the kids involved in the recent 'Demons and Angels' exhibition:
'That night was special but also a bit sad once the night was over. Something really special happened in creating the exhibition, people worked together and work was created that was honest and painful. It was an absolute privilege to be part of this. I really think that something has shifted in me by having my piece in the show, perhaps a part of my childhood has been laid to rest.'And yet, probably the day after that first night Dawn talks about above, the team who organised the exhibition were back in their offices begging for more money just to keep afloat.
But this post is sounding like a charity broadcast and it's not meant to be. It's also not about how wonderful I am for giving money - the opposite in fact, being part of the Kids Company is a real privilege for me. And I like the humour of it. The first line of Camila's letter reads:
'I am reporting that my ballet lessons are going very badly. I haven't managed to get into a tutu but the Kids Company is thriving.'
"We aim to return to children their childhood." This is the main aim of the Kids Company - how could I not feel lucky to be a small part of that?
Friday, September 21, 2007
1.YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Charlie Golf – we let my daughter choose the name of our rabbit when she was small and had to live with a Volkswagon in the family!
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) Vanilla Blueberry – perhaps a bit too fruity although I love Vanilla as a first name – am going to steal it for a character!
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) Ssal – now I sound as if I have a lisp!
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Green Dog – hmm.
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Jane Bedford – not going to be the exciting femme fatale I think. More the mousey girl next door who yearns secretly for the hero!
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) salsa – fancy a dance?
7. SUPERHERO NAME: The + second favourite colour + favourite drink – The Blue Champagne – sounds as if I’d be too busy partying to do some saving!
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) Alfred Albert – am confused, what’s a Nascar anyway?
9. STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy) Coco Mars – like this one a lot, I can see the act!
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) – oops, I don’t stand a chance, my mother didn’t have a middle name so I’d just have to be William.
11 SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower) Autumn Rose – I’m not a spy, I’m still stripping!
12. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) Toast Oak – hmm, time to stop I think!
The Petri Project is full of good advice too, as is Nicholas Bate although he is more business-based, but perhaps my favourite 'feel good' blog is Clare's fantastic Three Beautiful Things.
ps and the answer to yesterday's puzzle is, of course, that the surgeon was the mother (and I'm convinced Alex knew that, he was just spoiling for a fight - things can get boring sometimes even in a shed).
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
The Storyteller's Daughter
The Time Traveller's Wife
The Gravedigger's Daughter
The Bonesetter's Daughter
The Rector's Wife
The Pilot's Wife
An admittedly quick search on amazon.co.uk reveals no husbands or sons used in the same way, although there is the film of Steptoe and Son, and the intriguingly entitled How to Kill Your Husband and Other Household Hints by Kathy Lette.
This trend worries me now I've noticed it, although I'm interested in how all of the above are written by women. But more worrying for me is the fact that, without thinking too much about it, I automatically presumed the professions in the titles to be held by men. Reminds me of that old puzzle:
A father and son have a terrible car accident and the father is killed. When the son is taken into the hospital, the surgeon immediately says, 'I can't operate on him. He is my son.' Who is the surgeon?
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
1) Do you dry between your toes or not?
2) Is it important to wear matching underwear?
3) Should you eat one of those little squares of chocolate posh hotels put on your pillow if you have already cleaned your teeth?
And for the record, my answers are:
2) Yes - the one time I don't is the time I get run over by that bus
3) Just one square?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Entry fee: £6.00
Closing date: Sunday, 30 September 2007
Word length: 2500 max.
For stories with a Bloomsbury connection, theme or setting, in any genre. Prizes (1st £500, 2nd £200, 3rd £100) will be presented on Sunday 21 Oct at the Bloomsbury Festival. The winning writer has the option to read an extract from their story at the festival.
Open to all. Bloomsbury Festival has a number of no-fee places for local residents who cannot afford the entry fee; if you wish to enter and may be eligible, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bloomsbury Festival is a contemporary, multi-disciplinary celebration of the creativity of this famous area. The 2007 Festival runs from 19th - 22nd October. www.bloomsburyfestival.org
And the one thing I'll never apologise for is my taste in heart-throbs. Look at these two men and tell me they weren't worth those nights of weeping over because they'd never be mine...
(Actually I hope my sister doesn't read this because that Who one is hers and having listened to it again this morning, she can't have it back, and if she tries I'm going to tell mum and dad she's being mean to me again....)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
And happy birthday also to Philip, Karen and Hilary (because this seems to be a writer's birthday - any other 11th Septembers out there?) - but mostly because it's my blog, happy birthday to ME!
I've got a dream day ahead - still reeling from seeing a fabulous production of Saint Joan last night, and looking forward to Ten Canoes tonight with a perfect lunch-date along the way. And in between I'm going to do some writing and reading of my own.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Actually, I feel fine. I'm just trying to get this blog into Jonathan Harris's research project, We Feel Fine, which has been searching through the world's blogs to accumulate snapshots of how the world is feeling. Jonathan is an artist, storyteller and computer scientist who, through his work, is trying to make personal sense of the web to 'show off a world that resonates with shared emotions, concerns, problems, triumphs and troubles.'
So I feel... happy to have listened to his talk here and excited by this work which links up all of our secrets. 'The soul of the internet', someone called it.
Now it seems I can't enough of Norman Mailer. After reading and making copious notes from his interview in the Paris Review, I was browsing in the Aladdin's Cave of Galignani's bookshop in Paris, and came across his collection of essays, The Spooky Art. This is a good find for me at this time, because I found inside an explanation for something I accept but has often puzzled me. I seem to work best when I get myself into a bored gloomy state - being alone in a strange city or town really makes my creative juices flow. And in retrospect, I'll look at these times as good times, even though I seem to spend most of them watching couples, and friends, and family groups with real, physical envy, wishing I was with anyone else than myself and my note pad!
However, Norman Mailer writes:
I've found that I can't do serious writing without getting into a mild depression. (Note! I am not speaking of a clinical depression.) An ongoing bad mood can be, however, a avital part of the process, because to begin with, it's perilous to fall in love with what you're doing. You lose your judgment. And for the simplest reason - the words, as you are writing them, stir up your feelings too much. Odds are, if they excite you disproportionally, they may do less to others.'
Who was it who said, of writing,: 'Kill your babies'?
Here's another quote of Mailer's I underlined:
Writing is wonderful when you talk about it. It's fun to contemplate. But writing as a daily physical activity is not agreeable. You put on weight, you strain your gut, you get gout and chilblains. You're alone, and every day you have to face a blank piece of paper.
But before we get too gloomy, I like this observation best because it sums up just how lucky I feel most of the time to be writing:
I remember Elia Kazan saying one day at Actors Studio, 'Here, we're always talking about the work. We talk about it piously. We say the work. The work. Well, we do work here, and get it straight: Work is a blessing.' He said this, glaring at every one of us. And I thought, He's right. That's what it is. A blessing.
And I do consider myself blessed, even if I have to be mildly depressed to do it best....!
Thursday, September 06, 2007
You're Waiting for Godot!
by Samuel Beckett
Many people think you're extremely dull, but you're just trying to
patient. Really patient. Patient to the point of absurdity, quite frankly. Whatever
you're waiting for isn't going to just come along, so you can stop waiting. I promise.
Move on with your life. Change of scenery might do you good. Heck, any scenery might
do you good. In the meantime, you do make for very interesting conversation.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Telegram books - www.telegrambooks.com - is hosting an evening of new writing by women at
The Cella, Sanctuary Cafe
51-55 Brunswick Street East, Hove, Nr Brighton (01273 770002)
with readings from award-winning Canadian author Alayna Munce, local author Kay Sexton and poet
Alayna will be reading from her new novel 'When I was Young and in my Prime', Kay will be reading
from 'Two Tall Tales and One Short Novel' and Maria will be reciting a selection of her work.
It is free to attend and promises to be a fascinating and stimulating evening. A chance to
support some great new works, network with other writers and have fun!
Alayna Munce will also be reading at 7.30 pm on Thursday 20 September at Queens Park Books, 87
Salusbury Road, London NW6 6NH.
THE FROGMORE PAPERS
Jeremy Page, editor of the literary magazine The Frogmore Papers
which recently entered its twenty-fifth year of publication
introduces readings by contributors to the 70th issue including
Ros Barber, Clare Best, Ian Caws,
Judith Kazantzis, Rachel Playforth
and Catherine Smith
‘This magazine might exist just to show how good a low cost poetry mag
can be.' 10th Muse
Tuesday 16th October at 5pm
Quiet Room, Meeting House
University of Sussex
A WARM WELCOME TO ALL
£5 (£3 CONCESSIONS, £1 STUDENTS) INCLUDES WINE
NO ADVANCE BOOKING – PAY ON THE DOOR
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
Anyway, I've just come back from a week learning how to make books for myself. It was surprisingly hard work. The group I was in went into overdrive from day one - starting at 9am and sometimes not finishing until we were chucked out of the workshop at 10pm. But what a luxury to concentrate on one thing for so long. Our first day was spent visiting Khadi papers for possibly the most orgasmic half hour of my life. So many colours, so many papers, so many textures. Yum, yum, yum. Then we calmed ourselves down by realising we were going to have to do something with all the papers we'd bought.
This is one of my books. I wanted to do something with one of my poems, Night Letters, and what better way to package it than to make a bed?
The poem unfolds in concertina fashion from the headboard - each stanza slowly following the next in a way I like much better than just reading it on the page:
And although my handwriting might not be perfect, I did get to write with a gold pen:
Just spending a week concentrating about the structure of a book (and for the purists among you, I did spend most of the time learning how to make a book 'properly' with sewn on covers, careful measurements etc before letting myself loose on having fun with the bed), makes me think even more why we haven't moved on from the basic shape of a traditional book. Of course, B S Johnson did try to change everything, particularly with his The Unfortunates, but I can't help noticing that even this positive review uses both 'infamous' and 'notorious' in the first sentence as if he's done something he should be ashamed about.
But children's publishers know all about tactile pleasure in books - Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar must be as popular with parents as well as kids for the way you get to play with the pages. I remember from when my kids were small, books that rattled, or scratched, and, of course, popped up in surprising ways.
Maybe it's just that strange shaped books don't fit easily into bookshelves once we become adults? Can't be tidied away and forgotten about? I'm on a mission now to find adult fiction books that let me play as a reader, not just with the words, and won't let themselves be tucked away. Any suggestions gratefully received.
This work by Sarah Salway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.