I know. It's been a while since my last post. The cause is the writer's usual; the day job. But also it's the weekends I've spent writing the introduction to this September's re-issue of Miss Nobody, by Ethel Carnie. It's exciting that it will be published on the centenary of the original publication. I was in the British Library's Newspaper Library in Colindale last Saturday, reading through back issues of The Woman Worker and the paper she and her husband, Alfred, edited - The Clear Light. Below is a section of 'adverts' from one issue, which struck me in their verve and immediacy. And to think it was written in c1908!
Anyway, I think I've finished the intro, which I sent across yesterday to Carnie champion and series editor Dr Nicola Wilson, of Reading University. Nicola also wrote the introduction to This Slavery, the re-issue of another of Ethel's novels. What I would be keen to see published is a collection of Ethel's journalism. Roger Smalley is set to have published a biography of her, which he wrote in 2006 for his PhD, and which I mined for the section of Ethel in my own PhD thesis. It's all astonishingly overdue.
In other news, I've yet to finish mapping out the 'Book of Joan', the oft-started, oft-abandoned book on my Mum. I have lost count of those to whom, having related snippets of its draft contents, have said 'you must write it'! And yes, I must. I sometimes question whether it's residing too much in the past, but given that I am able to even consider writing it at all means I'm very much in the future from where I was, if that makes sense? To be 'in the past' would, for me, signify a paralysis of intention. And there's always the old adage of to know where you're going you need to know where you're from. And my Mum's book will serve many important feminist and class-based considerations that are still hugely relevant.
I have also been thinking about turning my PhD novel, part 1, which is the contemporary element, into an e-book. Nothing to lose, etc. And it would mean that it isn't just confined to my bound phd, which I see every time I open my cupboard, where it now languishes.
What have I been reading? To be honest I have struggled to read the TLS every week, and the LRB has fallen by the wayside. I will renew my LRB sub. I let my London Library membership lapse. One needs to be able to visit regularly to get the most from it. I have been keeping up with the New Yorker though. I like it, natch. New story every week, and some good reports. As well as the cartoons.
On my 'must buy' list are novels of
James Salter, as well as The Mussel Feast, by Birgit Vanderbeke.
A couple of weeks ago I caught the George Bellows exhibition at the Royal Academy, which was very good. He was part of the 'Ash Can School'. Greater realism etc. He died in his early 40s from peritonitis. I read yesterday that Sherwood Anderson, whose work I have never read, also died from it; although much older, and because he swallowed a toothpick!
The Lowry exhibition at Tate Britain next month will make the headlines; cue articles on his seeming penchant for young girls.