…too long ago! Resurfacing yet again to let you know that Frying an Egg is cooking again.
I finally read Day by A.L. Kennedy – guttingly wonderful. I’d put it off because it covers territory I’ve been trying to explore for years. When I finished I was sorely tempted to give up on the ground that she is the real deal! I know that great writing should inspire and not discourage but I gave way temporarily.
She uses words so well, not necessarily ‘big words’ but put together in new and surprising ways. She inhabits the main character so completely I can only imagine what it must have been like to live through writing this book.
Just alerting folk to the resurrection of Frying an Egg, the instant writing blog. That’s all folks!
I’ve so enjoyed reading The Delivery Room by Sylvia Brownrigg. The title refers to the nickname given to the consulting room of a psychotherapist. Hard to sum up and I don’t want to pre-empt the enjoyment of anyone who decides to read it. But it deals with love, grief, parent-child relationships, motherhood and is set at the time of the war in the former Yugoslavia. Not a cheery little summer read then? Well no, but the seriousness is handled by such a fine writer (new to me) that it offers the satisfaction that comes when experience is shaped into a beautifully made work of literary art.
I’ve just watched Gryff Rhys Jones getting passionate about poetry in the BBC2 documentary ‘Why Poetry Matters‘. He covered a wide range of stuff in a direct, gutsy way, his genuine passion positively burning as he steered a course through the familar and the less familiar. He wasn’t the only one getting fired up. Nicolas Hytner was practically jumping off the screen with enthusiasm for iambic pentameter. Reminded me of the days when I marched around a classroom demonstrating the rhythm. It was so not a dumbing down of the subject and actually embodied its point about poetry being visceral as well as intellectual. Catch it on iplayer if you can!
Well, here I am again. Life got in the way so here’s yet another try at keeping this going! I’m inspired by a trip to the London Book Fair where I met my publisher for the first time, having had only virtual contact till then. Also met Jo Parfitt a fellow author who has tweeted kindly about ‘How to Stop Flogging a Dead Horse’. We are agreed that our books complement each other. A Career in your Suitcase is her guide for expats and their spouses/partners who want to find rewarding work in the country they find themselves in. And if that ain’t you, then ‘Find Your Passion – 20 Tips and 20 Tasks for finding work that makes your spirit soar’ is well worth buying.
STOP PRESS I’ve just clicked through to Jo’s blog in order to link it to this. How’s this for synchronicity – she has posted a blog today about our meeting. Yes, we agreed to support each other but we had no plan to blog about this today!
A friend recently said that I seem to read a lot. Not true, I just talk a lot about the books I do read! I’m so grateful for the other friend (I have two!) who sent me a new copy of the book I began when staying with her. It was so special, I couldn’t bear to take it from her shelves. I’ve now finished ‘Gilead’ by Marilynne Robinson, an astonishing piece of writing encompassing love, death, father-son relationships, grace, forgiveness… big topics but all with such a gentle touch told in the form of an extended letter from a dying preacher to the young son of his old age. Every page holds a pearl of wisdom – and none contains such a cliche.
In another vein but also set in rural America, is Moo by Jane Smiley, a hilarious and very clever satire on academia. In this case, as the title suggests, the university is specialises in agronomy.
Do let me know what you’re reading!
A friend asked me if I’d read a half hour play she has written. ‘Don’t miss me and hit the wall, if you wish to criticise it. I trust you!’ she said. It proved to be a gripping read so it wasn’t a problem to offer a few suggestions when I could honestly say I liked it. She’s taken the comments on board and agreed with most of them. Often we are too close to a text to spot awkward phrases or ambiguities, so it’s great to have trusted peers to run stuff past. I appreciate the folk who do the same service for me.
It makes it easier too if you know that the other person is committed to excellence – in fact it’s essential. The friend in question is a visual artist, so well used to the joys and trials of the creative process. I think that’s part of what makes it possible to critique other people’s words and work – knowing that there’s a shared value about the nature of the endeavour.