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Showing posts from July, 2020

Less is more - Griselda Heppel begs for fewer fewers

Being a frightful pedant, but obviously not wishing to look like one, I always rejoice when someone else brings up the subject of grammar. So thank you, Enid, Sandra, Jan, Bill and Eden forconducting such a lively discussion on the subject on Authors’ Electric a couple of days ago. Various reasons were given for what bad grammar signifies, including poor ability to communicate (yes, often) or a general incompetence (I wouldn’t go that far – but it depends on how disastrous a person’s grammar is I suppose!). To those I’d like to add my particular aversion: intellectual snobbery arising from ignorance. So, here goes:1.WHOM. This should only ever be used in the genitive, dative or ablative case and sometimes not even then. Of whom, to and for whom, by, with, from and in whom are all correct. But you don’t always need to be so pure, especially not in realistic dialogue. ‘Who are you talking to?’ rings much more naturally than ‘Whom are you talking to?’ or to be thoroughly Victorian, ‘To w…

Grammar, medical consultants, and yes, crinolines (well why not?) by Enid Richemont

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Apologies for the quality of the image on the right, but it comes from an Early? Mid? Nineteenth Century French children's book called, "LA POUPEE PEINTE PAR ELLE-MEME", its cover image faded almost to oblivion. It came originally from an ancient house in La Vendee, a house full of such historical treasures, and which had been in the family of our very close French friends for centuries (at least three centuries, if not four). I set one of my Young Adult novels there - "WOLFSONG", which is currently available as an ebook on Amazon, if you're curious.

The house itself, sadly, has had a dramatic end to its very long and doubtless dramatic life. When the estate was  broken up and divided - French inheritance law is quite uncomfortable and often destructive - it went on to become a hotel in a part of rural France that didn't really attract tourists, so it failed, and eventually, after a succession of owners, was abandoned to the elements and the vandals, and…

Michaela Coel is My Writing Hero - Andrew Crofts

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I love it when a writer emerges into the limelight and shows themselves to be entirely brilliant. Michaela Coel – the author, co-director, producer and star of BBC series “I May Destroy You”, is my latest hero.



She is young enough to be one of my children and her life experiences are as different to mine as it is possible to be while still being born in the same country, (but only geographically). Listening to her talk and watching her shows has taught me a great deal about worlds that I have virtually no personal experience of. She has helped me understand how other people feel.
Coel has had many of the most unpleasant experiences of life thrust upon her and she writes and talks about them with incredible power and humour. She appears to be entirely fearless in what she says and who she says it to. She lays bare her experiences and her feelings and those of people she knows and loves. The results are so truthful, so painful and so watchable that it is not surprising that her work h…

The Social Media Gig

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When I see all the feverish online activity on social media, I wonder whether we can at all entertain the idea that we ourselves might be one of the fatal victims of the virus any day/any time now. Because what all the enthusiastic announcements assume, or at least seem to convey, is that this is an alternate state of being, just for the time being. We’ll all meet happily on the other side of Corona… but till then, let’s do this!!

The logic behind

This is not to say that I don’t understand the logic behind them. Some of these events are for sheer survival – for example, by bookstores, which have been thrown out of business by the pandemic. Many others are simply online versions of physical events that were already planned and were supposed to happen (such as those by cultural organizations); but since they can’t, organizers have opted for this only other alternative. Several are events by truly passionate people about work they love to do and it’s their determination to continue doing t…

A Sterkarm Handshake: How to Make One by Susan Price

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It was birthday earlier this month.
Here's my birthday present from my younger brother and sister: Adam the ambulance worker and silver-smith-cartoonist and Patti, the cat-scan, x-ray and MRI scan operator, camera-woman and charming hostess.
There's an unexpected use of vinegar and hard-boiled eggs.
Creating the Sterkarm Badge


The pesky new posting board for Blogger won't, as far as I can find out, allow me to preview the video. If it won't play, follow this link:-- https://youtu.be/noTUQ42zNgwHaven't managed to meet up with Adam and Patti yet but I'm delighted with my birthday present and look forward to being able to display my gratitude to the Sterkarm Riding Family whose reiving has kept me in whisky for a good many years.

The virus and the travel writer - Jo Carroll

I know, this title reads like a children's story. If only. Life has got a bit serious for many of us: the tribulations of a travel writer are nothing when compared to so many.

I'm fortunate. I don't need the income from my travel writing to put food on the table. For those who do - life must have become impossible. Where can they go? What can they write about? We are used taking our safety into account: we generally give serious social unrest a wide berth and don't put ourselves in the path of animals that might eat us. (Well, I did, once - but not deliberately). Speaking for myself: I am fascinated by the minutiae of people's lives - wherever they are and whatever their circumstances. I will oppose poverty tourism (gawping at mud huts or rows of metal beds in orphanages) till the day I die, but will defend anyone who spends hours round a fire listening to singing, and dancing, and telling stories. For me, those stories are the life-blood of travelling.

But what no…

I Got Tested for Covid and Here are the Results by @EdenBaylee

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Yesterday, I spoke with author Bill Kirton about another new experience in the slew of new experiences since lockdown. Over the weekend, my husband and I got tested for Covid-19. Neither of us was symptomatic, but we wanted some assurance that we were not carriers. As we are both fortunate enough to still have our mothers, we wished to see them them without the worry of infecting them. Of course, this goes for all family and friends, but in particular, for our parents.

Initially, the test sites in Toronto, Canada, where I live, were not accepting patients unless they exhibited specific symptoms of Covid or suspected exposure to it. 

In June, this changed. First responders and employees of liquor stores were ordered to undergo testing, along with staff at certain adult correctional facilities, hospital personnel, and workers at congregate residential settings. This was followed by “pop-up” testing centres in neighbourhoods hardest hit by the virus. We decided to go on Sunday to one of man…

Reading, Writing, and always being kind... by Mari Howard

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“Be kind” 
A few weeks before lockdown, a well-known celebrity took her own life, leaving a note advising others to “be kind”. This may or may not have been the source of advice which circulated, as we began to live shut away from crowds, and thus places of business and pleasure, that we should now do “Small acts of kindness” to neighbours. An effort to create some coping mechanism, some feeling of community, and hope, and to take us out of ourselves.
Well-meaning but in danger, as the words became a meme, of joining with those BBC News tropes of “unprecedented”, “uncharted waters” and “strange times” which, while describing something, also managed to describe nothing. How, exactly, do we perform “little acts of kindness” when all are separated and not to get together? Of course, we do find ways… What I’m saying is, stand back and think — is it worrying that we need to be told? Is it sobering that normally we don’t do these?
Lockdown has become a meme – a subject overdone – yet lockdown …

The Fairytale Confessional by Sandra Horn

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In the weeks before lockdown began, we had block-booked tickets for all the concerts in the Purbeck International Chamber Music Festival, ditto the West Meon Festival, several concerts at the Turner Sims and all the Crick Crack Club storytelling at the Earth House in Cranborne. All gone with the wind, of course. Not having the live music and stories is a big wrench, but infinitely worse for the performers than for us. We were able to contribute a bit towards cancellation fees for them, but even so they will all miss a chunk of vital income. All these wonderful talented people in theatre, music and the arts generally, not able to work – it’s a tragedy, not only for them but for all of us. Many people have put wonderful stuff online, however, free of charge, bless ‘em all. This earns them nothing but keeps them doing what they do best and gives us joy. The latest such initiative I came across was by the Crick Crack Club (storytelling for grown-ups). I’ve blogged about them before. This …