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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.

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I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.




-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-


And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised

***


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…