Posts

I Wish...

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For most of the past one year, after Covid hit India and I was confined at home, I felt a strange urge to write poetry, even as I continued blogging and writing other prose pieces. I say "strange", because I've always been less drawn to poetry than prose, and consequently have also read far less of it. But I pine for economy now - sparse words, bare image, silence. I can't bear to read voluminous books, watch long films, or sit through elaborate discussions these days. Exhaustion may be one reason for it; the desire for a clutter-free existence, another. I want to get rid of all clutter and just concentrate on essentials.  What you see below is not a poem, but an articulation of the desire to write poetry (among other things... all of which I have no talent for)! I just wanted to make a short post of this desire this month... ***** I WISH I wish I were a poet Condensing feelings into neat little lines That flow spontaneously down Like a stream. I wish I were a painter

I Have a Little List... Susan Price

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  Head and Tales by Susan Price    Actually, I have several little lists. Amazon helped me make them. For some time, Amazon have had a function for linking the books in a series, but a fairly new app makes it possible to link books that have a common theme. Amazon says: ' A series is a set of your books that share common characteristics, such as characters, or setting, or chronology, that a reader would expect to find together on a bookstore bookshelf. Create a series to help readers find books collected on a single Amazon series detail page and enable them to easily navigate from one book to the next. '   If your books are intended to be read in a certain order, then you number them. If the order they're read in doesn't matter, then you leave them unnumbered. I thought this sounded an excellent idea and it so I started linking my books up. Head and Tales , above, is in my Folk and Fairy list. I linked up my Ghost World books and my ghost stories and sales seemed

The Black Dog of Greatness -- Lorraine Smith

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 Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was a British Politician, statesman, army officer and prolific writer. He wrote 33 books in 51 volumes over his lifetime. His fictional output comprised one novel and one short story. His main output however, comprised non-fiction. After he was elected as an an MP,  over 130 speeches and parliamentary answers were published in booklets and pamphlets. He received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953 for “ his mastery of historical description as well as for oratory in defending human values.” What is more surprising is that Churchill suffered from a manic depressive disorder and could spend long periods of time, sometimes months low on energy and totally unproductive. For years Churchill had avoided standing to close to balconies and train platforms. “ I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand back and get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a sh

Own Your Voice by @EdenBaylee

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Some years ago, another writer, whom I respected said to me, “You have a distinct voice.”  She had read a couple of my books, and at the time, I was writing erotic fiction. Her words caught me off guard.  “Oh?” I felt somewhat ambivalent toward her statement. “I guess my writing’s become predictable.”  “I don’t mean that,” she said. “I mean you have a certain way of telling a story.”  She was offering a compliment, but in that moment, I couldn’t fully appreciate what she was saying. I took it to mean she had read enough of my stories to notice a recurring pattern, a particular style of writing. I filed away her words in my brain, confident I’d eventually understand them more clearly.  To have one’s own style isn’t a bad thing, right?  I’ve been reading erotic fiction for years, so it’s not a stretch to think I’ve adopted stylistic details from authors I’ve admired. At age eleven, I read Pauline Réage’s Story of O . I didn’t understand all of it, but it made a serious impression on me.

Bodies of Light, and Reflections of Ancestors -- Mari Howard

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Women's Fashion, c. 1870 * My maternal grandfather was a civil servant at the Treasury, but his hobbies (possibly ‘real self’) were Astronomy and Pottery. Evidence suggests he was rather good at both — but here we’re concerned with pottery, taking place at Putney School of Art, around World War 1. Here he made friends with a number of artists, one of whom was the elderly William Shakespeare Burton, who worked in the Pre-Raphaelite style and occasionally had paintings displayed at the Royal Academy. My mother’s sister was named Violet Christina, after one of Burton’s daughters, and rumour added that the latter’s godmother had been Christina Rossetti…      This, and another piece of family history (wait for that one), drew my eye to Sarah Moss’s novel Bodies of Light , featuring fictional artist and designer Alfred Moberly, working in the mid-19th century, and influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters.      The novel opens to the world of industrial Manchester in the 1870s.   Alfred

The Dark Tower Falls - a fairy tale for lockdown by Katherine Roberts

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At the start of this pandemic, when the first UK lockdown knocked everyone's life sideways, I took out a two-year subscription offer to Psychologies magazine as a treat to myself. I never imagined my subscription might be in danger of running out before this is all over, but perhaps I instinctively knew something at the time? Almost a year later, and we are still in lockdown, with even more restrictions and mandates than the first one, and with apparently no plan any time soon to emerge from lockdownitis (I just invented that word, but perhaps it'll be added to the dictionary in a year or so for future generations to wonder at). Anyway, we are still living through it all, and I am finding staying positive increasingly difficult, even with such a brilliant magazine popping through my letterbox each month. In the latest issue, coach Kim Morgan invited us to write about our current life as a fairy tale, complete with heroes and villains and a happy ending and just desserts for th

Lockdown: Aunties, buns and doggerel by Sandra Horn

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  What with lockdown and the weather, it’s been hard going these last weeks! On the plus side, I have been slowly mutating into my aunties, beloved bakers and knitters and stitchers, joys of my childhood. They were limited in their aspirations by time and circumstance, but content with their lots, so it seemed. I was the only girl born for many years, so was the happy recipient of beautiful clothes – smocked dresses, knitted cardigans… and oodles of pocket money for doing little errands for them. Now, with no need to be striving to be ‘someone’ outside the house, I’ve been learning the contentment of housewifery. I don’t mean dusting or hoovering,by the way, nothing so drastic, just making. Supplies of cheese straws (recipe courtesy of Auntie Sheila) go out to a friend in a nursing home. We are growing fat on home-made scones and biscuits and buns.   Then there’s the knitting. I make things for Knit for Peace and CRIBS. I’m not a natural and often have to start again a couple of ti