Out Now + Coming Soon

I know I appear to be idling most of the time — and that is probably an entirely justified observation — but occasionally, having done things at some moment of ill-judged industriousness, these scribblings find their way to the light. Out now from Breakdown Breakdown Press: (picture grabbed from the publisher over on Instagram)

2018-09-20 08.40.58

This also offers a hint of a forthcoming project of mine, but anon —

There’s the Inanna book too!

Out in October but up for pre-order now is Volume 4 of the Black Room Manuscripts:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00014]

FFB: A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark

69516I don’t know why I put this off so long: maybe it was knowing it was set in the publishing world. That sort of roman à clef doesn’t usually appeal to me much — possibly because there is nothing much that will surprise me about the publishing world anymore.

But dashing off on the train to meet the fab QoE (still need to write that up) and needing something to read, I wanted more #MurielSpark100 so I grabbed this from the shelf. An unfortunate cover: I see what they were trying to do but it doesn’t really work. So many other lovely versions like this.

But of course this is SPARK so I was riveted from the start. The opening sentence is now among my faves ever:

‘So great was the noise during the day that I used to lie awake at night listening to the silence.’

How great is that? Then she goes on to explore her late night thought process and it’s just wonderful, of course. Written as a memoir by the main character, Mrs Hawkins (surely a nod to Waugh’s Nanny Hawkins), life is a far cry from the rooming house in Kensington that she lived in during the post-war period. Everyone confides in the ‘comfortable’ woman who describes herself as ‘massive’ and ‘hefty’ until ‘I decided to be thin’ (a whole other post on Spark’s obsession about weight will have to be written by someone else). Though not old, everyone treats her as if she were.

Both the house in Kensington and the odd publishing house Hawkins works for are superbly and exquisitely unique as Spark lays them out for us. Modern publishers would have a fit: the opening is all description of people and places, yet it sparkles. Ullswater and York sound like so many real publishers, and yet completely mad, too. The dissection of class is barbed and hilarious. The back and forth in time allow us to know about York’s imprisonment even while we see how he gets away with his crimes because he’s charming and has the right accent.

So many things are going on–little dramas and tiny crimes–that it’s difficult to know what will carry on through the novel and what is merely an episode, which is how Spark surprises you all the time. But she creates one of the all time worst authors in soooo many ways: ‘At this point the man whom I came to call the pisseur de copie enters my story.’ Hector Bartlett is a terrible writer and a horrible man. She makes him absolutely unforgettable and worse than we even imagine. Anyone who has dealt with a horrible author will know him.

Like Highsmith, Spark finds a lot of life’s bizarre coincidences stand out. For Highsmith they’re the heavy hand of fate; for Spark, I rather think they are the reward of faith. Plus she’s so funny and charming between the slicing witty observations:

‘It is a good thing to go to Paris for a few days if you have had a lot of trouble, and that is my advice to everyone except Parisians.’

Go read more Spark! I have her play up next, Doctors of Philosophy.

Check out all the overlooked books at Patti’s blog.

NYC, QoE and Me

Medieval sirenShenanigans in the city with gal pal Stephanie today. Hope to manage a few things like the Morgan medieval monsters exhibit. If you’re about give us a shout.

Write 4 a Day: 16 Sep 2018

Write 4 a DayDon’t you deserve at least one day to write?

Write 4 a Day is a series of monthly one-day writing retreatsin upstate New York. There is:

  • no workshop
  • no agenda
  • no required activities
  • no assignments
  • no schedule
  • no WiFi!

Unplug. Write. Don’t write. Think. Daydream. Doodle. Outline. Come for the whole day or just for part of it; network, collaborate or write solo; wander the woods, hills, fields and streams of Universal Pathways for inspiration (bring sturdy shoes) or sit in a comfy chair and brainstorm. It’s up to you.

WHO – you! We haven’t had to limit attendance yet, but it’s getting to be a consideration. If you want to be sure to reserve a space, email me via the contact form.

WHY – because you deserve a day to devote to your writing (or daydreaming or sketching or scheming or knitting or…)

WHAT – $22 fee for the space (cash/check/PayPal/$20 for HVWG members) and food (a dish to share or your own lunch)

WHEN – 10am-5pm 2018: Sep 16, Oct 21, Nov 18 (no Dec). 2019 dates selected soon.

WHERE – Universal Pathways, 692 Pleasant Valley Rd, Berne, NY 12023 – Phone: (518) 872-2272

Magickal Women Conference

I’m a Magickal Woman! Which is to say that I will be speaking at the Magickal Women Conference in London next June. They’ve only announced the first set of speakers but I’m already excited at the breadth of fantastic women who will be speaking about fantastic women. I will be talking about sound in Leonora Carrington’s The Hearing Trumpet, an opportunity to focus on some of my favourite obsessions: Carrington, art, surrealism and sound. Very exciting!

tumblr_llu5bdv1xc1qf0717o1_500

Out Now: Inanna’s Ascent

inannasascent_coverweb
Out now! You can buy it direct from the publisher here, but it will also be available from the usual commercial outlets. Trista, Tamara and Pat have done a wonderful job gathering the words and art of women from across the world who have been inspired by this ancient goddess. I write about how I used Inanna’s story in my novel Owl Stretching (by the by, thinking of doing an audio book of that now that it’s out of print).

By the by, I’m now on Instagram (hopefully helping out with the Fox Spirit skulk promo). I’ll probably be more esoteric there than here: each platform has its own personality –or brings out a particular aspect of my personality. Hit me up if you’re there.

Write 4 a Day: 19 Aug 2018

Write 4 a DayDon’t you deserve at least one day to write?

Write 4 a Day is a series of monthly one-day writing retreatsin upstate New York. There is:

  • no workshop
  • no agenda
  • no required activities
  • no assignments
  • no schedule
  • no WiFi!

Unplug. Write. Don’t write. Think. Daydream. Doodle. Outline. Come for the whole day or just for part of it; network, collaborate or write solo; wander the woods, hills, fields and streams of Universal Pathways for inspiration (bring sturdy shoes) or sit in a comfy chair and brainstorm. It’s up to you.

WHO – you! We haven’t had to limit attendance yet, but it’s getting to be a consideration. If you want to be sure to reserve a space, email me via the contact form.

WHY – because you deserve a day to devote to your writing (or daydreaming or sketching or scheming or knitting or…)

WHAT – $22 fee for the space (cash/check/PayPal/$20 for HVWG members) and food (a dish to share or your own lunch)

WHEN – 10am-5pm

2018: Aug 19, Sep 16, Oct 21, Nov 18, Dec 16 (tentative)

WHERE – Universal Pathways, 692 Pleasant Valley Rd, Berne, NY 12023 – Phone: (518) 872-2272