Saturday, November 27, 2010


And thocht I be nocht in endite expert
Nor eloquent, my simpilnese excuse
And have compacioun of my trublit hert,
Wappit in dred, of all the warld refuse.
I will non othiris dolouris feyne nor use,
Nor borow teris in my pen to rayne,
Bot sic as fallis fro myn eyne twayn.

from The Lufaris Complaynt

Why am I splashing medieval poetry about on my blog? The reason is, I'm tired. So? So I'm tired, and that little voice that never shuts up inside your head was saying, Phew, I'm really wappit ... wappit ... I wonder if that means what I think it means? I think it means tired. I always use it to mean tired. I'm too tired to find out. Think I'll post about author visit tiredness. Think I'll call it Wappit. Better find out what it means ...

Never succinct, that little voice.

Anyway, I googled the word and got this complaining lover. And in the notes ...

"Wappit - stunned."

So there you are. I am, indeed, wappit. But in a good way. I'm hoping in the coming week to get some of the wonderful art work I've been given this month onto my website and more entries onto Slightly's website (there's some dinosaurs there this week - and generally round up - though I've one more talk to do on Tuesday. But really, the whole thing's been ... stunning.

Cheers, Joan.

P.S. I may very well be teaching my granny to suck eggs - I never studied medieval poetry so I have no insider information - BUT I find it's a lot like trying to read Scots dialect poetry. If you read it out loud, the sense is much easier to pick up. What the eye can't tell, the ear can. Go on, give it a go.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Door of Kelpies

I love weird collective nouns - a busyness of ferrets, an exaltation of larks, a parliament of owls, and now ... a door of kelpies. That's if you like them a lot. (It's a joke. But if I have to tell you that, it maybe isn't ...)

This fabulous door decoration is the work of P3 at Linlithgow Primary School who do like kelpies, and The Night of the Kelpies specifically. In my travels so far this month I've seen the most amazing pictures of ferrets and princesses and castles and gargoyles and medieval hoodies - and any of them that I've been able to wangle away from their owners will be going up in the Readers' Gallery section of my website as soon as I can manage. Over the days, we've written fabulous poems together, started astonishing detective stories, and I've done my best to answer reams of questions, many familiar, some quite startling. What, for example, is my favourite punctuation?* Which of my books do I like the least?** What's my cat's name?***

Week 3 takes me to Cambridgeshire (and I'm currently disease-free - long may that last!) so who knows what I'll be asked next!

Cheers, Joan.

* It's the dash. I love it. My editors are less enamoured. We have discussions.
** Impossible to answer.
*** Katie.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ribburta and the Mighty Mysterious Squirrel Affair

Something nice plopped through my letter box this week - 2 copies of the October Spider Magazine, with the second Ribburta story in it. (The first one was in the January issue - Ribburta and the Rootintootin' Highfalutin' Ballet Extravaganza.)

I love Rupert van Wyk's pictures.

And there's another Ribburta story still to come - Ribburta and the Run-Ragged Babysitting Disaster - full of danger, excitement, and many, many, many tiny green frogs ... I don't know when it's going to be published, and more van Wyk artwork is to be unveiled, but I can't wait!

Cheers, Joan.

P.S. Week One of my November On The Road went really, really well. Unfortunately, I picked up an unpleasant gut bug somewhere along the line which manifested just as I got home again, so I'm hoping hard that it will have cleared itself up before I'm off again in Week Two!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

November Nomad

There’s a lot of out-and-about coming up in the next month for me. Gateshead, Sunderland, South Tyneside, Linlithgow, Bishopbriggs, Cambridge, Great Abington and Uphall. This will entail:

a series of train trips (quiet, peaceful, work-filled journeys)

hotel rooms (with central heating that turns off, not over the pub and with fairy-footed neighbours)

book stock to sign (which will have arrived in the right place on the right day)

books to sell (to kids whose parents actually knew I was coming and sent in money)

and lots of eager faces to talk to (without having to at the same time outshout the gym class next door, the dinner ladies beyond the cardboard partition, or the toddlers crying in the picture book section).

You can tell I write fiction …

Wish me luck!

P.S. I’m also on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure on Monday, having first messed up the delayed posting option so that it appeared on last Wednesday, and then being rescued by Damian Harvey, SAS techie guru, who put it (he hopes) where it belongs on the 8th. Check it out.