Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More 26 Treasures

Huzzah! We're live!

Here is the page where, at last, all of the 26 Treasures are revealed ...

Here is your chance to write a piece yourself and win a Kindle (even if you can't come to the Alternative 26 which you can find out about on the Events page ...)

And here is my piece on my lovely drag chains ...

Looking forward to Saturday, though in my usual quandary on what to wear - till then, a happy St Andrew's Day to you all, whether your blood flows tartan or not.

Cheers, Joan.

Monday, November 28, 2011

26 Treasures - In Instalments

I was a bit premature with saying we were online today ... part of the project is online today. So, if you are within striking distance of Edinburgh this Saturday 3rd December, have a look at our launch, and other events to come, here.

And the minute the individual pieces are up on the Museum website I will be letting you know. This is a great project - the problem will be to get me to shut up about it! I am the cheer-leader for drag chains everywhere, and that's not a sentence you get to say all that often.

(And to make sense of that, visit my blog on the subject here!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

archy and me

Before his soul transmigrated into the body of a cockroach, archy was a vers libre poet. Sometimes this gets him down. As he says,

well boss from time
to time i just simply
get bored with having
to be a cockroach my
soul my real ego if
you get what i mean is
tired of being shut
up in an insects body the
best you can say for it is that it
is unusual and you could
say as much for mumps

Because he is a cockroach he is only able to write by diving headfirst onto each letter of the typewriter in turn. (And of course he is unable to work the shift key at the same time, which explains the absence of capitals.) He has things to say, but oh my, it's slow for him to say them!

Even though I have the use of all my fingers and can insert caPitaLs without a care, I too have been feeling that this job of ours can be very ... very ... slow. And hard on the head. Every word I write seems to have travelled a long way and is worn out before it gets here. I have editing deadlines to meet, so giving it all a miss for a while isn't an option, but there is another character in Don Marquis' world - Mehitabel the cat - and maybe I could learn some things from her. Her motto is it s cheerio my deario that pulls a lady through ...

i wake the world from sleep
as i caper and sing and leap
when i sing my wild free tune
wotthehell wotthehell
under the blear eyed moon
i am pelted with cast off shoon
but wotthehell wotthehell ...

there s a dance in the old dame yet
toujours gai toujours gai

Cheers, Joan. (or perhaps i should say cheerio joan)

P.S. On Monday I'll be blogging about the 26 Treasures project. There was a 2-page spread about it yesterday in The Scotsman newspaper, but if you missed that, we're just about to go live - online and in the real world too. Come by and I'll tell all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bravely Gone

Now that was stupid. Why did I say I'd write a report on the 360 Narratives Open Weekend right after getting home from it? If I could find an image (uncopyrighted) on the web that showed Advanced Brain Blur, I could just put that up - perfect!

Did I enjoy the weekend? Yes! I met a whole new mess of people doing stuff with words that is different to/from the stuff I do. The exercises were fun and exhilarating and did an excellent job of showing/reminding us of the strengths of collaboration AND constraints. I DID "enjoy inspirational conversations with peers and writers who have had experience and successes across genres", just like it said on the tin. I learned a lot. It was, in equal parts, invigorating and knackering. (Having never speed-dated 40 people in a single afternoon before, I was unprepared for just HOW knackering! Blimey.)

An assiduous photographer was on hand and I look forward to seeing his work on the 360 Facebook page in due course - his pictures will give you an idea of some of the faces and scenes from the weekend.

It's too soon for me to sort out my thoughts sensibly yet and see what the next step needs to be, but watch this space!

I have a post over on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure today which I'd love you to visit.

Cheers, Joan.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bravely Going - 360 Narratives Open Weekend

Welcome to 360 Narratives, a safe haven for professional writers to explore other forms of writing. Be challenged, collaborate and create new ideas and projects with your peers.

Working in teams, writers and narrative creators from different fields will collaborate to create story worlds that can be exploited across a variety of media ...

Participants will enjoy inspirational conversations with peers and writers who have had experience and successes across genres; advice on intellectual property and how to exploit it; and exercises and workshops to get them mingling across art forms.

That's going to be me, this weekend - enjoying, mingling, collaborating and being challenged till my socks explode ... The organisers were careful to put in the word safe for those of us who feel a little nervous. And haven - that's also a reassuring word, right? I'll cling to that, and plunge on in!

If you want to learn more about the folk who are running the weekend, have a look here. And if you want to find out how I fared, I'll do my best to report in some sort of coherent fashion on Monday ...

Till then, cheers, Joan.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Growing Reviews

Slightly Jones is starting to collect reviews! Her first two adventures are up for two different book awards, both voted on - and reviewed - by children. The Case of the London Dragonfish is shortlisted for the Scottish Children's Book Award. The votes won't all be counted until February but you can see what some of the voters are thinking on the Scottish Book Trust reviews page.

And The Case of the Glasgow Ghoul is one of the books shortlisted for the Lancashire Fantastic Book Awards. The reviews for the Reading Group it's in can be found here.

Thanks to all the readers and reviewers - keep 'em coming! And to anybody who was thinking it might be fun to take part in either of these awards - go on! Give it a go!

Cheers, Joan.

P.S. And to everybody I met at the Northern Children's Book Festival this week, a big wave, a very loud HELLO! and an enormous THANK YOU!!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Gurning* for the BBC

It is not news that I can sometimes have a less than firm grip on reality. For example, I have been known to refer to my books as documentaries. I have written elsewhere on the Bottom Syndrome - the conviction that no matter what the brief, I CAN DO IT! And I have a deep and vivid belief that I am 6 foot tall and of a willowy persuasion.

It seems a long time ago now, but way back in August, I was interviewed by 3 pupils from Liberton Primary School, at the Edinburgh Book Festival. The BBC Audio L.A.B. had organised a series of these interviews where pupils were paired up with children’s writers doing events at the Festival. They learned things about how to conduct an interview, how to handle a mic – not as easy as you might think! – how to speak clearly and with a smile.

Here it is: Audio L.A.B

I have no idea who the dumpy gurning type is in the photos, but that's definitely me talking. My interviewers were delightful - and, interestingly, looked exactly the way they do in the photos! How strange is that ...

Cheers, Joan.

* This is what Wikipedia has to say about this quite odd sport:

"Gurning contests are a rural English tradition. By far the most notable is that held annually at the Egremont Crab Fair, which dates back to 1267 when King Henry III granted the fair a Royal Charter. The origins of the gurning competition itself are unclear, and may not be so old, although it was described as an ancient tradition by local newspaper the Cumberland Paquet in 1852.

The competitions are held regularly in some villages, with contestants traditionally framing their faces through a horse collar— known as "gurnin' through a braffin'." The World Gurning Championship takes place annually at the same crab fair in Egremont, Cumbria. Those with the greatest gurn capabilities are often those with no teeth, as this provides greater room to move the jaw further up. In some cases, the elderly or otherwise toothless can be capable of spectacular gurns covering the entire nose."

So now you know.