Thursday, May 31, 2007

Off again...

... to Paris - my favourite city! A long weekend with my husband, doing what people do when they find themselves sans kids in Paris ;)

The Shadow of the Wind

Talk about a book that brings you somewhere! I'd recently found this book sheltering in one of the many bookcases that are scattered around the house. I picked it up and read the first few pages - I was hooked pretty quickly too.

It's a Gothic tale set in Barcelona between the second world war and the sixties but encompasses a history that comes before that - confused? It gets better. The book's protagonist Daniel Sempere finds a book in a Cemetery of Forgotten Books whose story and writer gets under his skin so much that Daniel sets off on a long quest to find out why this book and others that the illusive author has written are being systematically destroyed, and additionally where the long lost writer has disappeared to.

The main genre of the book is Gothic with a narrative style reminding this reader of so many 19th century novels of the Literature course AA316 last year: Madame Bovary, The Portrait of A Lady, The Woman in White, Northanger Abbey, Middlemarch etc. In other words a rich literary allusive treasure trove of a book. The writing is at times very evocative: the opening description of a dawn scene in Barcelona describes the light as pouring over 'Rambla de Santa Monica in a wreath of liquid copper.'

The Shadow of The Wind was one of those books that really encapsulates and simultaneously investigates the sensation of reading, where a book grips your imagination so much that you are reluctant to 'lose the story's spell or bid farewell to its characters.' Places and characters are described and built up so well that this reader felt like she'd spent a good while in old Barcelona, during the reign of fear of Franco's time.

I know I come late to the party with this book, discovering it long after the fuss has died down about it. But I really enjoyed all the tricks - especially since I've just finished the prose part of my Creative Writing course - the techniques being illustrated in the writing of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and so ably translated by Lucia Graves.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Raga's Song

Above me stands the driver,
heels on the curve of my tawny rump.
I don’t mind – he’s blinded
with the weight on his mind.

He carries driftwood
connected finely to the reins.
My reign ends – his begins.

We see hear speak
the world’s weight
in pancakes and champagne.

Inspired by Minx

I googled "Cailleach needs" and found I don't need anything!

Googling "Cailleach gets" reveals that I get up from my rocking chair, clodhop to the Eastern quarter and says, " O Ancient Ole Spirits of the Air"

As you do.

Or, Cailleach gets tickled on the air.

Hmm. Better not go there!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

OOOH!

You really should visit here, Shameless' Lionesse project for a good look.

What a great idea!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

May - be

Damn. I missed all that about it turning into Bealtaine and the start of summer.

So, I went in search of something to mark it. I liked the sound of Walpurgis Night which means Witches night (I know Minx will like that), where the witches have a bit of a hooley on the mountains in Germany and all over Northern Europe generally.

But the apparitions on the Brocken mountain, where some of this shindigging goes on, sound interesting -you need the right conditions to see them - but what they are is a magnified shadow (probably a human sort), combined with the moisture in the air at a certain time of day et voila, there's a weird vision!

Makes you wonder about the Yetis on the other side of the world.

Anyhow, the one thing in common with these celebrations is that May 1 is regarded as another gateway, like Halloween, where souls of the dead are abroad, and there may be an interchange between the living and the dead.

Makes sense really.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

And now for my latest trick...

... conjuring a first collection out of nothing. I have been awarded a good whack towards publishing the collection from Dundalk Town Council, through the Arts Act 2003 funding. This is a fund that allows local authorities to back creative projects in the arts, big or small. There isn't a great big pot, so I'm very, lucky to have received what I did!

With that, my publisher has sent me a publishing contract to sign, and we will be meeting up during the summer to edit the MS and get it into tip-top shape for publishing. It's funny how you notice those glaring typos and commas, stops and out of place capitals after the fact...

So, some work done, a lot more to do, as a certain Irish political party used to advertise... or was it the national rail network, Iron roads of Eireann?