Sunday, October 25, 2009

Die Siebte Prufung

I love Babel Fish! Here is its translation of the entry for the German version of The Seventh Tide (published by cbj - the German Random House) which I just received:

"Three fearless heroes on the way by space and time A verträumter shape transducer named EO, a naive Novize from the Middle Ages and a rebellious girl from the future. What the three interconnects? They deny together the most dangerous adventure of their life. An enormous error of EO catapults it on a wild journey by time and space. Six time journeys must master it, become only then them all the crucial 7th examination to exist. If they fail however, Eos homeland falls to the soul-devouring sea natures. But the three are ready, to the challenge to place themselves… hope it anyhow. • 7 rapid time journeys - 3 fascinating heroes - 1 dangerous examination • Action, speed and sparkling joke - an irresistible mixture „Lennon is tremendously original and” the 7th examination “sprays before joke and humor. A hinreißender Fantasy and adventure novel. “ "

(To see the original text, click here.)

I love the cover too!

Cheers, Joan.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Unlisted Symptom

Two paragraphs really grabbed my attention this week. There was this, from Terence Blacker's "Endpaper" in the Society of Authors' magazine The Author (Autumn 2009):

"There is something not quite right about those who write for children. Most of them, surely we can agree, have a small but significant psychological flaw which draws them back to childhood. As a result, creating fiction for young readers is more instinctive, more personality-based, than writing for adults and, in my personal belief, cannot be forced or learned if the spark is not there. You have to be slightly odd."

And this from John Dougherty's ABBA post:

"What you don’t appreciate, when you’re growing up with a Punning Dad, is that knowing almost anything you say might be punned upon gives you an awareness of language that other kids don’t have. You become alert to the meanings of words, and to their possible reinterpretation; you become conscious that what you mean to say might not be what is heard by the hearer or read by the reader. You develop a growing understanding of the subtleties of language; of its shades and tones and twists and tricks. You grow to recognise its strengths and limitations, and to love it for what it can do. And all this happens without anyone sitting you down in a classroom, or writing on a blackboard, or reading from a textbook. All this happens because you have a dad who loves language, and who passes on that love to you, with love, in a way that a four-year-old can understand - by being silly and making you laugh."

The thoughts in these paragraphs have joined the agitation between my ears of uncertain feelings and unclear analysis on the topics of writing for children, writing for adults, parents, children, my parents, my children. Granted, I've been harbouring some lurgie all week, with a unpleasantly impressive seventy-a-day seaman's cough and complete loss of temperature control. But I looked up the symptoms for Swine Flu on the internet and this kind of mental mess isn't mentioned as one of them. Still, I think I should probably wait until I can clear my throat without setting off car alarms in the next street, and then have another go at clearing my mind.

Meantime, I will refrain from breathing on anyone I like.

Cheers, Joan.

P.S. Lovely to hear from you guys - Stan and Peggy, Sue, Jo and Hilery - talk to me again soon!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I Miss the Castle ...

... but it's starting to fade a little now. This last week will not go down in the annals of dsiciplined, single-minded attention to creativity, or even just getting the words on the page. Indeed, it was a week for which the word "faff" was invented. I'd like to say that, instead of writing, I did all those other things that the real world is full of, but I didn't do those either. Just faffed. And looked longingly at listings of other residencies/retreats. (I can't reapply to Hawthornden for 5 years, but come 2014 - watch my dust!) And wondered sporadically if I have perhaps nailed my colours to the wrong mast after all, and I should be writing for adults.

Next week is going to be different. And I've been thinking about archy, the cockroach poet of Don Marquis' "archy and mehitabel" fame.

expression is the need of my soul
i was once a vers libre bard
but i died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach
it has given me a new outlook upon life
i see things from the under side now
thank you for the apple peelings in the wastepaper basket

Every letter a nosedive from the top of the typewriter! I should complain!

Cheers, Joan.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Hawthornden Photos Four

Hawthornden Photos Three

Hawthornden Photos Two

Hawthornden Photos One