Thursday 30 April 2015

Tragedy in Kathmandu

When we were first married Richard and I enjoyed a trip to India and Nepal - it lasted around three weeks. One of my memories from then is seeing wild monkeys jumping over the monkey temple. They were as numerous as squirrels chasing up trees in the woods near our house. Kathmandu was the place where I saw groups of mother-less children living rough, supporting each other, sleeping inside sacks - night after night. Such images don't leave you.
Now it is a place of great tragedy as the death toll from the earthquake rises ever more sharply with each bulletin. I will, of course, make a donation through the Red Cross to help in some small way.

For those of you who know my work I have long had an interest in Sierra Leone. My short story 'Austerity' - about life near Freetown after civil war - hints at medical poverty but in my revisions I will actively refer to Ebola.
On Saturday our house is an Open Studio - part of the Larkhall Festival and one of four art trails around Bath. Richard is donating 20% of proceeds from sales of his framed works - of the people of Sierra Leone - to the Ebola Fund. There is still work to be done in SL. Many families have been displaced and their monies lost through failed businesses, following the horrendous epidemic.  The people of Sierra Leone still need support as they rebuild their lives. If you can please come along and support our efforts ( We are open Saturday, Sunday and Monday) & thanks for reading my blog.

Thursday 16 April 2015

Selective Reading

When is a bookgroup a hindrance rather than a help? When you have sooo much to read more titles simply become overwhelming rather than enlightening! Having just read the mighty Anna Karenina I found it, sacrilege I know, a distraction rather than a help. I don't think I have the tolerance, for the moment at least, for 19th century Russian aristocratic society with its curious mix of wealth and restrictions. Some beautiful phrases and philosophies, of course, but I feel I want to read shorter works. Eight hundred pages - as for Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries - is toooo much. It's simply because I want to work at my own novel - so I need the time and headspace now.
I feel I'm ready to read Polly Samson. As she's published a collection of short stories and written a novel incorporating a family member I feel she might be one for me to watch. So I may miss a couple of bookgroup titles and concentrate on writerly-supportive reading - thereby helping develop my own writing style.

It's a year since mum's stroke and of course one has to be cognisant of the fact that the upheaval has taken its toll; on us - the rest of her family; physically - simply moving mum and her belongings is a massive task; sorting out her house ( our childhood home) and the emotional impact of it all.
It could explain why my back has been especially painful for a number of weeks and why I'm so tired. On a happier note I may be able to use the skills of a professional author in a couple of months time. It would be wonderful to get a rigorous read through of 'Coming of Age' with a critique from a published writer. It's what I need now!

So back to the writing. Selective reading may have to be my priority ...