Recent Reads, Bradbury and George, and Hedwig!

Tolkien Conference! Celebrating 75 years of The Hobbit. And Surrey Writers' Conference!

I wish I was attending both, especially Surrey; it would be so exciting to pitch a story 'live' for the first time. Scary, but exciting.

I've been doing well with my schedule - only ten pages of editing left (ROW80)! And don't forget my Show me the Words! contest. I'm adding another feature to the contest - for an extra entry, head over and watch the Whisky Trench Riders' single Driftin'. You can like it or share it, too, if you wish, but the important thing is the views - the band is trying to hit 1000 views before the end of the month.

We've lost two authors and inspirations this week, Ray Bradbury and Jean Craighead George. Neil Gaiman has some touching tributes to Bradbury, and here's the New York Times on George. I have to admit I've only read one of her books, My Side of the Mountain - she has 99 others that I haven't read yet! The film version of My Side of the Mountain was filmed in and around Knowlton, not far from Montreal.

I've been lucky lately, winning lots of books. Just finished Linda Jackson's The Lie That Binds, which I'd won off Sara, and am about to start Who Writes This Crap? by Joel Stickley, the genius behind the How To Write Badly Well blog.

Before we left for vacation, I read the wonderful Go Ask the River by Evelyn Eaton, which I'd recommend to everyone.


"The haunting story of the great female poet Hung Tu, who flourished in the ninth century during one of the great periods of Chinese literature. The daughter of a Government official far from the capital, on the Silk River, she was, most unusually, brought up with her brothers, whom she far outshone. Falling on evil times, her father sells her to the best Blue House on the Silk River.

Hung Tu's poetry and calligraphy bring her great renown, and the story traces her rise from Flower-in-the-Mist to Official Hostess at the court of the governors of the Silk City, and her love affair with the poet Yuan Chen. Set against the backdrop of the scholars, poets, officials, and warring factions of ninth century China, this wonderful story reconstructs one of the great periods of China - turbulent, cruel, yet with a sense of beauty remarkable by any standards and in any age. Go Ask the River is a tale not only of historical China, but of the human struggle to discover how to be alive.

'Throughout runs the Taoist Philosophy - the Eight Signs of the Golden Flower, the meaning of Tao, the place of women in Oriental society. Hung Tu emerges as a vibrant figure, radiating a sense of beauty, balance, and well-being' - Montreal Star' [another Montreal connection!]" (description from Amazon)

Speaking of Montreal, I've got sunrise photos for Joshua, who always shares his mornings with us:

looking south, towards the former planetarium

same shot, but if you squint you can see the Canadian flag atop the building

I seem to be full of books this weekend. Here, for instance, are two random quotes about writing:

"When I was a child I read books. My reading was not indiscriminate. I preferred books that were old and thick and hard. I made vocabulary lists." - Marilynne Robinson, sounding like me

"[Secret window, secret garden] seemed to me as good a metaphor as any for what writers - especially writers of fantasy - do with their days and nights. Sitting down at the typewriter or picking up a pencil is a physical act; the spiritual analogue is looking out of an almost forgotten window, a window which offers a common view from an entirely different angle... an angle which renders the common extraordinary. The writer's job is to gaze through that window and report on what he sees." - Stephen King

And one about life: "Looking back over a lifetime, you see that love was the answer to everything." - Ray Bradbury

Also, I couldn't resist sharing this photo from the Ecomuseum, of an owl who might be Hedwig:

Which books have you been reading?
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