Showing posts from February, 2010

To Whom Do We Pass The Torch?

n Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

John Babcock, Canada's last veteran of the Great War, has died.

Blue Rodeo - One Light Left in Heaven

Nora Ephron Said It First OR A Writer's Goal

eading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.
- Nora Ephron (from the essay collection I Feel Bad About My Neck)

've just surfaced from spending several days in a state of rapture - with a book. I loved this book. I loved every second of it. I was transported into its world. I was reminded of all sorts of things in my own life. I was in anguish over the fate of its characters. I felt alive, and engaged, and positively brilliant, bursting with…

Somerset Maugham Said It First

ong experience has taught me that when you set out to write a piece and can't think what to say, the best plan is to leave it to your fountain pen. That invaluable little instrument is wayward and to fool you will often start by writing rubbish, but if you give it its head and take no notice, it will generally settle down and write something that at least looks like sense. It has its pride; it knows that the typewriter can't do this, and it knows that the typewriter, once it starts, goes on and on intoxicated by its own facility. Further, no typewriter has ever learned to spell and will complacently (except after c) put e before i till it comes to seize and will then suddenly put i before e. The fountain pen has a singular mastery over this difficult English spelling of ours and if by chance it has made a mistake will give a little start which calls your attention to it and urges you to consult a dictionary.
- Somerset Maugham, from the Introduction to Dorothy Parker (The Vikin…


t the moment, I'm reading a number of books at the same time again.

One of them is Easter Walk, by Zan Marie Steadham, which is up for a GAYA award!

(that awkward first sentence was structured in order to fit the lovely drop cap in...)

Can't Help Wondering...

es, I can't help wondering why my characters are always wondering things. They wonder what others are doing, wonder what would happen if..., wonder whether so and so is wondering about such and such...

Perhaps I ought to stop wondering about this and just write, which is what I was doing, actually (before you ask) when I stopped to wonder about this.

Blue Rodeo - Can't Help Wondering

Reading Is...

hough I don't normally read Non Sequitur, Tuesday's comic came on the heels of an Alchemy of Writing post on how interactive books are actually squeezing out the mind's interaction with the written word, and I feel it's quite a lovely way of showing how deeply one can be involved with a story:

A Post About Posts To Come

onder of wonders, I've been writing!

Getting up early and getting words down on paper, I mean, not just following random plot trails in my head. I've also typed up some words and gotten ahead in research (boning up on the Renaissance).
Which leaves me with a list of blog ideas and no actual post. I've got some Nora Ephron quotes to mull over, a wonderful quote on writing from Somerset Maugham, a new book to discuss (Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead) and some thoughts on plotting, inspired by Marsha and the writers at All The World's Our Page.
Meanwhile, Bill Watterson has given an interview, and Maker's Mark have a new bourbon coming.

Very important events, these, from a writer's point of view.

8 Things

eems I haven't done a meme in a while (OED Online: meme, n. Biol. [Shortened < mimeme (see quot. 1976 1); ancient Greek that which is imitated (to imitate: see MIMESIS n.), after GENE n.2] A cultural element or behavioural trait whose transmission and consequent persistence in a population, although occurring by non-genetic means (esp. imitation), is considered as analogous to the inheritance of a gene.) so I tagged myself off Pam (I added the project section):

9 lots of 8 things about me:

8 projects I'm working on:
1. Rose's story - 25000 words into the first draft
2. Finding an agent for The Face of A Lion
3. Research for Rose's story (currently reading about pilgrimage, monasteries, the Jews in Spain, the Renaissance, Provence, etc., c. 1450 to 1525)
4. Knitting projects: a blanket, socks on the magic loop, a Victorian shawl and four or five other projects not yet begun
5. Finalising the scrapbook of our road trip photos
6. Organising all the papers in the house …

Naked in Knightsbridge II

very once in a while I get lucky and have a chance to read some British Chick Lit. The last two times were while I was in England: the first one I ever read was Love Is A Four Letter Word by Claire Calman, which was sweet; and the second was Meet Me on Platform 8 by Carole Matthews, which was fun but had a slightly disturbing ending.

Last week, courtesy of Marsha Moore (24 Hours London), I had the opportunity to enjoy Nicky Schmidt’s new book Naked in Knightsbridge, which tells the story of Jools Grand, who’s hit rock bottom in her life at the tender age of 28. Her cleaning business has failed, her debts are mounting, and her crazy landlord is set to evict her any day now. What’s a girl to do?

Not one to find a conventional solution (what do you expect from a girl who’s attracted to the hobo that hangs around her apartment building, aka Hunk of No Fixed Abode?), Jools decides to auction herself online. Though she gets a good price – from a politician seeking a wife as a cover – Jools d…