I see my mind as a tapestry woven through with memories, dreams and thoughts.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sunday Snippet

As I am still reading 'Wolf Hall' (busy week and not much spare time) my snippet is from my second book 'Violet and Lavender' which I am reading to edit.

'Like a nervous creature, Miss Steak creeps forward until she is in front of the ‘MEAT MEMORY’ box.
Quickly, Violet Jelly fills a ramekin with small pieces of steak. She hands it to Pansy Soup. Pansy Soup takes it and creeps towards Miss Steak. She spoons out a portion and holds it out to her. Miss Steak looks from here to there, like a startled bird. She does not see Morton, who has crept up behind her. Miss Steak stares at the spoonful of meat and steps towards it. Greedily, she grabs the spoon and pushes it into her mouth. She chews and swallows and looks for more. Pansy Soup holds out the ramekin. Miss Steak grabs it and pushes more steak into her mouth.
Morton is behind her. He is about to leap forward, to grab Miss Steak, when a deep noise freezes him to the spot and the lid of the enormous chest in the centre of the room opens. Out steps a ram- an enormous ram.
“Who is eating in my bank?” it bellows with a voice so deep that it bangs against the boxes and comes back again, like a thundering echo. Violet Jelly hastily pops the empty ramekins into her bag. The others cover their ears. But Miss Steak keeps on chewing. She can think only of steak.'

'Violet and Lavender' by Ann Sharples

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sky Watch Friday

And I have added musings of poets contemplating the moon:

From 'The Red Fisherman' by Winthrop Mackworth Praed

'The Abbot rose, and closed his book,
and donned his sandal shoon,
and wandered forth, alone, to look
Upon the summer moon.'

From 'Night' by William Blake

'The moon, like a flower,
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.'

From 'Silver' by Walter de la Mare

'Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;'

From 'Is the Moon Tired?' by Christina Rossetti

'Is the moon tired? She seems so pale
Within her misty veil;
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.'

From 'The Moon' by Robert Louis Stevenson

'The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.'

Sleep well!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sunday Snippet

From 'Started Early, Took My Dog' by Kate Atkinson.

'He had been trying to visit all of the Betty's Tea Rooms - Ilkley, Northallerton, two in Harrogate, two in York. A genteel itinerary that would have done a coachload of elderly ladies proud. Jackson was a big fan of Betty's. You could guarantee a decent cup of coffee in Betty's, but it went beyond the decent coffee and the respectable food and the fact that the waitresses all looked as if they were nice girls (and women) who had been parcelled up some time in the 1930s and freshly unwrapped this morning. It was the way that everything was exactly right and fitting. And clean.'

Kate Atkinson - probably my favourite author. I admire her capability for depicting characters so that they appear vividly in the 'mind's eye' and her ability to weave the threads of her tale to become, with the final words, a complete garment.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Sky Watch Friday

An amazing winter sunrise - from our garden. Sometimes it is hard to believe that they are real.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Photo for One Moment

Sad ... incongrous ... and rust marks the years of abandon

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sunday Snippet

From 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel

Page 196 and 197

He understands that the whole purpose of the evening has been to warn him: to warn him off. He will remember it, the fatal placement: if it proves fatal. That soft hiss and whisper, of stone destroying itself; that distant sound of walls sliding, of plaster crumbling, of rubble crashing onto fragile human skulls? That is the sound of the roof of Christendom, falling on the people below.

Bonvisi says, "You have a private army, Tomasso. I suppose you have to watch your back."
"You know I do." His glance sweeps the room: one last look. "Goodnight. It was a good supper. I liked the eels. Will you send your cook to mine? I have a new sauce to brighten the season. One needs mace and ginger, some dried mint leaves chopped -"
His friend says, "I beg of you. I implore you to be careful."
" - a little, but very little garlic -"
"Wherever you dine next, pray do not -"
" - and of breadcrumbs, a scant handful ..."
" - sit down with the Boleyns."

A little more than a snippet, but it gives the 'feel of the story.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Too Many Words

Odd that I should write this, BUT during this year, I have read five novels that, for me, have in them 'too many words'. This is how I would describe a novel that incorporates large portions of historical information - social, factual and sometimes both.

Currently, I am reading 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel, which is my kind of novel in that I enjoy the style, character portrayal and the story. Hilary writes in her 'The Novelist's Arithmetic' at the back of the book:

'The (historian) wonders why you don't include all the detail' .... 'and the (literary critic) wonders why you aren't more slick.'

'The art, therefore, lies in grasping why things happened and then forgetting the reasons.'

'The (novelist) lives inside the consciousness of her characters, for whom the future is blank' ... 'agrees just to move forward with her characters, walking into the dark.'

Mmm ... yes ... I say.

The parenthesis are mine for clarification and the extracts abridged.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sunday Snippet

I have just finished reading 'The Children's Book' A.S. Byatt

In the beginning ...

'The Wellwood's Midsummer was a slightly movable feast ... Philip was assigned to help with the decoration of the garden and orchard. ... All chairs were requisitioned - wicker chairs, deckchairs, schoolroom chairs, the nursery rocking chair, cane and metal garden chairs. They were placed in arbours, in the clearing in the centre of the shrubbery, even in the orchard. Then the lanterns were swung from branches ...'

The idyllic summers of Edwardian times, when it seemed that the 'ideal life' could become a reality

... to ...

'They sat, the survivors, quietly round the dinner table, and drank to the memory of Leon. ... Philip sat at the end of the table in a wheelchair that supported his leg. ...'

... a portrayal of the ravages of war.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Library Workshops

I am back home. Today has been remarkable, very still, cloudless sky and the garden full of birdsong. A day for just thinking and basking in the lower rays of sunlight and clearly defined shadow.

I digress.

Lit. & Phil. Library, Newcastle

Libraries are amazing venues; very intimate. To be surrounded by books and those interested in books; to see the delight on the faces of children eager to create and illustrate; to speak with parents, grandparents, librarians; all wonderful experiences.

The first library is small and cosy, all of us in a corner and the browsers peering from between the rows of books. First the reading, followed by designing characters and finishing with six picture storyboards, telling the character's tale in words and pictures.

The second library, a glass edifice, a beacon for reading, research, retreat from the bustling city life reflected in its 'window-walls'. Here, we gather in a room apart and there is time for sharing thoughts on how each mind processes its writing, drawing skills and how to make use of those.

The third library, set in parkland where I played as a child, evokes memories of the original, severe and uninviting library positioned above the bus station. I forced myself to overcome the glowering librarians of that day, to be among beloved books; dreaded being singled out for making some error. But now,the parkland provides a backdrop, friendliness pervades and we chat and discuss, future opportunities here, next summer.

I leave the libraries enthused by their response and encouragement - smiling, for is that not a part of life's purpose, to encourage one another??

Lit. & Phil. Library, Newcastle