My excuses and some good news.

I am aware that I am neglecting this site. I have had quite an intensive time on my Creative Writing degree course and the moment the summer break began I rushed to start a novel (I was bursting to get started). I hope to have the first draft finished before my friends come on a visit from Australia in September. Then I go back to my studies in October. Time will fly, but so is my novel right now – I hit 20000 words yesterday. I am loving it but I know I will enjoy all the editing and improvements later on too.

Meanwhile, I came across this and would like to share it with you. The Dandelion and the Meaning of Life ~ https://www.themarginalian.org/2022/06/12/g-k-chesterton-dandelion/?mc_cid=f4c959f56b&mc_eid=058398db73

Masks

In Venice

Under the beautiful mask

Is there a wonderful face?

The skin of their necks looks delicious

Youthful and covered in kisses

Her fingers bejewelled with stars

His thumb on her wrist is possessive.

His cravat is ironed and starched.

I can only see his dark eyes.

The crowds, the music, the singing,

The laughter that echoes on walls,

Amplified by the water, where the gondola rocks on ropes.

This postcard fell from my sketchpad.

It fell on the floor as I drew.

I have never been to Venice and probably never will.

In the old people’s home, my daughter makes sweet conversation

While I draw the old people’s hands.

Hands tightly clasped.

Fingers plucking at cloth.

Hands hanging limp from the wrists.

A hand leaned against a forehead partially covering eyes.

Rings hang loose on old bones

In a room with a faded carpet and a circle of straight-backed chairs.

The faces are lined and creased.

Sunken lips. Fleshless cheeks.

Sans taste, sans sight, sans sound.

Everything slips.

Masking the beauty of youth.

********

Footnote

‘Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything’ Shakespeare, ‘As You Like It’

Childhood Books

My favourite stories when I was five were the Greek Myths my mother read to me. They were ‘as told to children.’ But I realise now that they all came straight from Ovid. I was obsessed with Mercury and was comforted when I found a statue of him in the courtyard when I went very unwillingly to school. He was my refuge from all the noise and confusion, and I sat at his feet at playtime. It was a prep school where, due to my background, I was not allowed to fit in.  The 1950’s hadn’t changed the world much. I was relieved when we moved to a village, and I went to an ordinary school.

     I read all of Monica Edwards and that caused me to cycle to visit every horse I could find within about ten miles. It also got me a job in a hunt stable at the age of ten, in exchange for free riding lessons. Monica Edwards gradually let the children grow up in her stories at about the same pace as me.

     The fields around the village were a great place for the play of imagination. That’s where C.S. Lewis came in. After I read the first book, aged about nine, I found so many doors into Narnia. I don’t think I identified with any of the children particularly. I was just myself in that world. I had my own adventures there.

     After that I read any book that landed in front of me, romances, crime, thrillers, James Bond, Austen, the Bronte’s, Dickens, Wilke Collins, J.B. Priestley and even Jung but no fantasy until at sixteen I found Lord of the Rings. I was regularly painting signs for a local bookshop, and I asked them to pay me in books instead of money. I read the whole fantasy shelf and discovered George MacDonald whose descriptions and strangeness I loved.

     I read a lot of poetry too. The Beat Generation were a new phenomenon. But I liked Wordsworth and Keats and Dylan Thomas more and the lines of a poem that have stuck in my head my whole life is from Wordsworth. I remembered seeing the world like that as a child.

‘There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem

Apparelled in celestial light,

The glory and the freshness of a dream.’

Dylan Thomas infected me with an almost sensual love of words and his poem ‘Fern Hill’ has the same vision of childhood.

Perhaps I am an escapist, but I don’t think so. It’s the clarity of the vision that attracts me.

Alicia Hayden: When the Whale Sang/ The Whale’s Song

I like this poem – especially the first two lines

OSMOSIS PRESS

When the Whale Sang won the “Human Impact” category of David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021, alongside the Inaugural Ingrid Beazley Award

It sounds a bit like the feeling of watching
honey seep through milk.

A thick, luxurious, gorgeous sound.
A feeling of deep reverberations,

which echo through a vast, vast
amphitheatre.

But his stage, once packed with
kaleidoscope fish and pastel coral,

is an empty shell.
A hollow vessel.

So, he moves on.
And sings to the ocean –

a loneliness you cannot comprehend

Alicia Hayden


Alicia is a self-trained wildlife artist, photographer, writer, and filmmaker from North Yorkshire; with a degree in Biological Sciences from Oxford University. She aims to celebrate the beauty of the natural world in her work, as well as showcasing the threats it faces. She won the “Human Impact” category of David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 for her piece…

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Adrenelin Rush!

There are 3 ways to get from the Eiffel Tower to Trocadero; by bus, taxi or foot, but I just watched live as Nathan Paulin walked a slack line from the Eiffel Tower to the Trocadero in Paris, 70 metres above the ground.

Imagine his adrenalin rush as he finished and stepped off! BOOM!