Skip to main content

Round up

Firstly, I have a new blog. For the past year or so I had been taking pics whenever I chanced upon an item that someone had dropped in the street. I thought it would be good to have an image only blog, too, what with this one being concerned with words.
Secondly, I am still reading the book on fairy tales, but was swept up yesterday in The Life of Rebecca Jones, by Angharad Price and Lloyd Jones. It is a simplistically beautiful account of a Welsh farming family in which three of the sons are blind. Because of this they receive better educations, with Rebecca and and a seeing brother staying at home to work on the farm. There are moments so simply rendered and yet are bursting with poignancy, like when the father takes his two blind infant sons in the horse and carriage to their first school in Rhyl. We are told he doesn't get over it. Having come from a similarly large family myself, in which three of us went into children's homes, and when we were much younger, all the then five of us, it is my Dad's reactions to it all that has served as the my personal touchstone of that deeply private, and yet silently shared sadness that sits within like a fat teardrop that never moves. In Price & Jones's book the prose, which captures the much slower, harder and yet more poetic way of life, we are confronted with the satisfactions of living by the farming calendar; the seasons. I shall maybe post more when I've finished it.
Thirdly, the current issue of the New Yorker has a good piece on Hunger, A Writer's Apprenticeship by Mavis Gallant. It charts some of the time she spent in Barcelona in the 1950s; living worse than hand to mouth.
And, finally, the current issue of the Times Lit Supp has Hugo Williams in the Freelance seat, holding court on how 'need' has replace the 'shoulds' and the 'have to's. He's on fine form.

More anon. I'm still rewriting. Slowly. I'm listening a lot to Alt-J, Regina Spektor, and Sibelius.

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

Booker Shortlist announced

It's been a while... I know. Dog walking on the Downs, a bit of theatre, a bit of baking, a bit of writing etcetera etcetera. I also managed to read two complete books in the past month, which I was so pleased about. I had not read a whole book for about a year. The first was A Lie About My Father by Scottish poet/writer, John Burnside; a very well written memoir about father and son, but like all memoirs, some unreliability I felt. Poignant and tragic in equal measure. Then my husband returned from Cyprus (too hot for me this time of year, I can barely cope with England!) with Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong. He loved it. And then I read it and also loved it. I had originally picked it up several years ago but didn't get beyond Amiens, where the first section is set, but was really glad I did this time around. Another incredibly well written book in the style of a good Victorian! I felt a bit unsure about bits of Elizabeth, in the later section, but I have never learnt so muc…

Good Canary

Forgot to mention that we went to see Good Canary at Kingston's Rose Theatre last week. Star role played by the brilliantly intense Freya Mavor, who plays a speed addict. It's directed by John Malkovich - his UK's theatre directorial debut. Will try and post more about it later.