The holiday has been, and gone. The weather was wondrously hot, with an occasional spectacular thunderstorm (sometimes three at a time) to keep things loudly interesting – there was even a mighty hailstorm, that left the garden flooded with lumps of ice ranging from marble to golf-ball size. The wine was potent, the food delicious. I finished the books I took with me – although not The Iliad, I ended up not packing that – and enjoyed them immensely. And I made notes. Lots and lots of notes. I’m world building again. I’ve even drawn a map, which I will shortly be redrawing and expanding, on ever larger pieces of paper… the socio-economic structure has worked itself out, as have the social mores, some of the laws, and the traditions tied to the seasons. The music I will need when the time to write this story finally comes, is building its list in my head. Once my daughter goes back to school, I will begin. I’m quietly excited.
So things have mostly been in a holding pattern since last I blogged. Adjustments have begun to be made in the head-space area, and a new character has introduced herself to me and has begun to intimate her story. So there has been note-making galore. This has made me quietly happy. Really, you have no idea HOW happy this has made me! <does chair-dance of glee>
I’ve spent the last few days running through and rewriting endless lists, and the last couple of hours packing. Later this morning I will be on a plane. And away from my Mac. Even if I had a laptop, I fear the part of Eastern Europe for which I am bound, is sadly lacking in the provision of wifi – at least in the countryside. Mercifully, Moleskines require no batteries or other issues of connectivity (ghastly word). And the red wine there is delicious.
I finally got around to watching the decent fist that whichever production company it was made of Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal. Very enjoyable, even if the budget clearly didn’t allow for properly populating Ank Morpork. Golems, a vampire and a werewolf, lovely; but where were the trolls and dwarves? And it was too clean, somehow. But still, as adaptations go, it worked. But it did remind me of a not so successful adaptation I saw several years ago. You may or may not be aware that Stephen Briggs adapted several of the earlier Discworld novels into plays, most notably Wyrd Sisters. A local theatre company put on a production, and I and some friends went to see it. We were dreadfully disappointed. The (desperately) amateur thesps had decided that a passing knowledge of Macbeth would be suffice for their effort. And a knowledge of Macbeth does help – it informs the narrative in a wonderful and witty way. BUT it is not what makes Wyrd Sisters – either play or novel – intrinsically funny. It was quite clear that neither the director nor the performers were in any way familiar with Discworld, because they did not know where the laughs were, or why the jokes were funny. It was, quite frankly, toe-curling to watch. The audience, were for the most part, fans of Sir Terry’s particular brand of humour and insight. We knew where the jokes were, and why they should be funny. We expected them. And we did not get them. A week later I had the dubious pleasure of overhearing one of the actors complaining to a friend that audiences were not appreciative (I think there were three performances in all), and that the whole cast were deeply pissed off. The reason they had put the play on in the first place, was because of the Macbeth connection. Clearly the audiences didn’t have a clue. The friend had heard of Discworld – she dared to ask if anyone in the <geometric shape> Theatre Company (I don’t wish to fully name it) had read the original novel. No, they didn’t see the point, because Discworld novels are only fantasy and therefore not worth bothering with. If I hadn’t been working I rather think I would have had something to say about that. As it was I had to bite my lip and tongue quite hard. That theatre company were rude, and ignorant. They insulted their audience, they insulted the author, and they insulted the glorious plurality of literary genres. Twelve years later and it still makes me angry.
<Deep Breath>The next question is, what to take for holiday reading? A little Murakami (or rather, a fat one), the newest Atwood paperback, The Iliad (although sadly not the Fagles translation) – I can’t remember what else I’ve packed; I’m pack-lagged. So that will have to do for now.
In the last three days I have discovered three new things. Firstly, the spare and strange beauty of Haruki Murakami‘s writing; on Thursday I started reading his short novel After Dark. What can I say? I’m mesmerised, seduced, enthralled. Which should I read next? Norwegian Wood, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, or Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman?
Secondly, I woke up this morning – after a night of a fairly reasonable amount of sleep, hurrah! – knowing that I need to cut a particular passage from La Nouvelle Cendrillon, how to imply the seeds of information it contains, and what to put in its place. This had been puzzling me for a while, so it feels good to know; more than that, it feels right. Still have to rewrite the damn thing though. This beautiful weather is just too distracting – not that I’m complaining, per se. It’s just that sitting at my desk, under the stairs, and looking out into my tiny sun-filled back garden, obstructs the word flow. And if laundry has been done, it’s worse. Laugh if you like, but I find a line of washing, billowing in the breeze – especially bedlinen, or towels – strangely, deeply, satisfying. And slightly hypnotic. Now if I had a laptop, it might be a different story… As I’m holding out for a MacBookPro however, that won’t be happening any time soon. The apple blossom is out now, smelling too delicious for words. The aquilegias will shortly be doing their thing, and then lilacs will be li-lacing the air with their blissful scent. Sadly, our garden is too small for a lilac tree, since they are dreadful ones for sending out colonising suckers.
The third thing; the work of the Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. I read an article about her today – I forget where, and I’ve already recycled the papers – and was fascinated. Her paintings (three examples here, here, and here) will I think prove a rich source of inspiration for me at some point. I think I will have to find a good book about her. There’s a rare exhibition of her work coming up this summer too. Alas I will be unable to get to either Chichester or Norwich. Never mind.
And that’s enough for now. Wonder what I’ll find, or learn, in the next three days?