Here I am again, delighted to have completed my latest novel but wondering what and how I can create an eye-catching cover. It needs to highlight the focus of the story and, more importantly, grab readers’ attention. That I was inspired to write ‘The Greenhouse Legacy’ from a postcard of a painting by Eric Ravilious […]
This is the result of a most enjoyable collaboration which I wrote about in a blog with that title, Collaboration, at the end of March. Several of my postcard stories are already published on this website but I was delighted when Innes Richens suggested we combine our work in a book of short stories. A […]
I began writing this blog on 29 March, one week into the lockdown. The shock and horror had slightly muted by then and I’d begun to say to myself, as so many others said, get on with it, you can’t battle it, use the time. Six weeks on, seven weeks into this isolated / distanced […]
To collaborate is the action of working with one or more persons to create something worthwhile. And I certainly think this is what Innes Richens and I have achieved with ‘Small Allowances’. Our joint effort has, I am excited to think, brought together our short, short stories in harmony with each other. My often tongue […]
The sun is out and I’ve spent the last week of ‘isolation’ cheerfully doing all the tasks that get put off because there isn’t time. Well, there is plenty of time now! But although I can look with pleasure at my pressure cleaned patio and paths, the cut edges of the lawn and all the […]
You often hear it said, ‘Old habits die hard’ or ‘habits are made to be broken’. However, what about good habits? Helpful in many capacities but for a writer essential. You’re on your own, no rules of the work place, a boss hovering at your door, colleagues to consult and spur you on. You are […]
A la recherche du temps perdu
I sit in silence being new to the group before making a few points on the chosen book. I am largely ignored. Which is what happens to that novel after the first glass of wine. It is the literary boasting that takes over. The host sounds as if she and Dickens are bosom pals, ‘We go right back,’ she says. ‘I was in love with him from the age of seven, can quote chunks of his prose.’ The rest murmur approval but don’t take her up on the point. Her special buddy waxes lyrical on the Russian literary giants especially Dostoyesky, which she pronounces incorrectly, and then fails to offer even one title. ‘No, no!’ cries the woman in the kaftan. ‘American literature is the best, has much more to offer, for women especially.’ A requirement for her to endorse this statement is lost in the opening of another bottle and topping up of glasses. They carry on with a lot of twaddle about novels being far too long or too short or indigestible, whether prizes have any value. I lose track. Wonder how I can take the talk back to the reason we are here, find out who did or did not enjoy the novel of choice or the even, whether … But there is little hope of success as a further round of wine is doled out.
So I wait, tempted to say that my mother read Proust to me as a bedtime story. Something about something being lost. If only I could remember the name, I’d claim that for myself.
I’m talking about a novel but the same must apply to any of the arts; painting a picture, scripting a play, devising dance; a solo act. You are expressing ideas through your own imagination, a very personal act. Research may be involved, but the primary force of the piece is you, yourself, creating characters and plot, […]
I was reminded of my love for magic realism recently when hearing of a new novel by Max Porter, ‘Lanny’. He is an author I do not know but look forward finding his work. https://www.maxporter.co.uk/lanny I first encountered magic realism when reading ‘One Hundred Years’ of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez soon after it was […]
I look out of the window, third floor, overlooking the sea. Below the train rushes past, a hoot as if we ought to know. Such hideous modernity butting up to our beautiful old houses, this terrace of painted gems. A synchronicity of colours, an artist’s flair for unity. We are a commune. People who share the values of beauty and friendship. For this I’m lucky.
A enormous wave overwhelms the hideous monstrosity below, metal tubes of the utmost discomfort, whistling past. The spray engulfs, white spume drenching the beast, the sea thumbing its nose at this new need for speed. I cheer.
Ridiculous though as all our objections to the laying of the track twenty odd years ago were quashed. Flung out as if we were morons harking back to bygone days of life lived at a snail’s pace.
Today it rouses all those feelings and so much more. That tidal surge brings a memory I wish to forget; the family on the holiday of a lifetime caught out by the unpredictable twin threats, sea and wind. An island of beauty where we ran for our lives, chased by a wave pushed up from far out in the ocean, a power to destroy all human beings.
This house where I live alone, a man without wife or child, harks back to the days before the rail track, before we took that flight, before we ventured down to the summer sand and sea, where we knew the tides, the safety of our home.