If I hadn’t had a headache, I would have been working on Dancing the Maypole not lounging around with my snotty nose pressed into a 1970’s Science Fiction book. But I was ill, so yesterday I ignored my computer and got lost in the future. Gateway by Frederik Pohl is a story told backwards. It starts out with the hero (the term hero is a stretch), Robinette Broadhead, who is having a therapy session with his robotic shrink he calls Sigfried. Robinette, or Bob as he’s usually known, has some deep emotional problems, some of which stem back to his childhood and his non-demonstrative mother. We don’t know what’s happened to bring him to the sofa, but we know he’s super rich. Somehow he’s gone from subsisting as a food miner to being someone who can afford Full Medical (as in he can get any limb or organ (other than his head) replaced with no further cost and unless he dies in an accident he’s guaranteed to live an extra long life). [Read more…]
Archives for January 2011
I traditionally buy myself a Christmas present (or ten). The cold winter day I popped into my favorite second hand bookstore in the town I didn’t expect to find anything. I was out taking photos; I needed to thaw out my hands (any excuse). While combing the history section for Medieval knights I caught sight of the words “Mrs Hurst Dancing”. My brain didn’t even compute the smaller print on the spine. The size of the book suggested it contained lots of pictures. Being a curious wench I wanted to know why someone would write a book about some married woman who danced. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the cover. There in my hands was a book I’d never heard of called (now that my brain bothered to read the subtitle) ‘Mrs Hurst Dancing & Other Scenes From Regency Life 1812-1823 Watercolours by Diana Sperling… I held my breath as I opened the cover to find the penciled price. It was only £6. I clutched it to my chest and laughed as I resisted dancing in the confined space. I flipped through a few pages and was enchanted. I quickly closed the book and decided it would be one of my Christmas presents which means I didn’t look at more than five of the 70 plates till Christmas day. If you love the Regency era, and you’ve never seen this book, you will want your own copy. Diana Sperling, the young woman painting scenes from her life, had a great sense of humor and clearly a love of the absurd. I had to share a few of the pictures. These aren’t even the best ones (though I include my single favorite). These few give a flavor of the rest. Diana was part of a wealthy family (her father was Lord of the Manor) who were happy and content regardless of what was going on outside their little world. The first painting introduces most of the main people in her paintings… [Read more…]
One of the blogs I follow is Literary Soundtrack. It’s written by two sisters who are voracious readers (as well as talented writers). If readers were dinosaurs I’d be a brontosaurus, the big herbivore that probably needed half a dozen stomachs to digest the odd mouthful of wood pulp. They’d be a pair of raptors. Even the T-Rex would know not to enter a reading competition with these two. He wouldn’t have a chance! They love finding music that musically fits favorite books as well as interviewing writers about how music inspires their writing. I love how they mention things that make me think about things I’ve never thought of before. Yesterday they posed a question that set my brain whirling. “Why do you read the genre that you do?” The surface answer would be; because I like it. But that’s not really an answer. Why are we drawn to specific genres? Why don’t I love reading Westerns? Why do I have no desire to read… This is where I fell off the cliff of sanity. How can I know why I read the genres I do unless I know all the genres I don’t? How many genres are there? How many of them have I not read? If I’ve never read a certain genre, how do I know I don’t want to read it? I ogled my computer like a starving piranha and forced myself to go to bed. This morning after seeing the Goblin off I was going to get some more sleep. It’s long gone midnight and my pillow is still waiting. I went onto Wikipedia and found under ‘list of literary genres’ what I was craving. Answers! [Read more…]
I did something really dumb tonight. I like to think of myself as relatively intelligent. It’s true my Logic professor (who kindly gave me a special final test because I hadn’t known I could bring my book to the final – corrected my test and then looked me in the eyes and said, “I hope you’re not planning on becoming a Logician?”.) I didn’t need a sarcastic Mensa candidate to tell me I wasn’t destined to hang out with Isaac Newton (though I do finally understand the law of gravity and I did have to figure that one out on my own (nothing falls…it’s pulled). I had to wrack my brains for weeks to get that one. I blame my high school science teacher who I clearly remember saying the objects ‘fell’ and hit the earth at the same time. But that’s not my story today. I didn’t climb onto my roof and fall and break my arm proving the law of gravity. No, I went into my kitchen and tried to cook myself some dinner. [Read more…]
As Cinderella sang on the original Disney film, ‘A dream is a wish…your heart makes…’ If you are a creative individual and you have an artistic dream…I get to play fairy Godmother today because here is a website for you (unless you’ve already heard of it in which case here it is again)… (I can’t remember the exact words a fairy Godmother is supposed to say while waving her wand so let’s try, “Do Re Me Fa So La Tiiiie” Kickstarter.com is the most amazing place where creative dreams can come true! Have a look and tell me what you think. The great thing is…even if you don’t have any artistic dreams, you can help make other people’s dreams come true…if you wish!
If you’re a self-published author, want to be a self-published author or just a writer in need of inspiration I found a great blog that may help you. It’s called The Book Designer. The man behind the site is a professional book designer and writer. He covers all sorts of topics including ways to become a better writer. He has an article on free-writing I highly recommend. If you’ve read The Artist Way, free-writing is similar to morning pages or stream of conscience journal writing. One commenter after the article mentioned that she does free-writing on the computer and turns off the monitor so there’s no visual interruption to the flow. I use the computer because my hand goes numb very quickly using a pen, but I’d never thought of blinding myself to the page. I had to try it. So I set the timer on my clock for fifteen minutes, closed my eyes and started typing whatever came into my head. It felt SO good! My brain feels like its been vacuumed, sucked free of mental dirt. Even if you don’t want to self publish, if you’re a writer or someone who wants a happier brain have a look at the article and give free-writing with your eyes closed a go. I know from experience that when I do my morning pages every day my creativity blossoms, but I found it a bit of a chore. Now that I found an enjoyable way to clean my brain I’ll be doing it every morning. Read the article and see what you think.
There are a number of on line libraries, but my favorite is Project Gutenberg. For anyone who loves reading or writing Regency romances they have a fantastic Regency reference book. 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by Francis Grose This was published in 1811 and marketed at young men who wished to speak about vulgar things in front of the ladies without the ladies understanding. It could also be called A Dictionary of Cant for the year 1811. The snippets explaining the meaning of the words are more interesting than the words. They create this snapshot of the time. You can read it on line or download an e-book copy for free! How lucky is that? [Read more…]
I’ve made up my mind; 2011 is going to be a great year. 2010 was a year of being ill. So thanks for coming 2010 (there were some lovely days), but don’t come back! [Read more…]