Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Slow Moe

Lordy, it's Wednesday night already and I haven't done a tap of work this week! There just seems to be so many other things a body has to do - emails, business letters, accounts, shopping, laundry, telephone calls, quick trip to the gym with Finn (who is doing her exams, so must have extra motherly support). And I've decided I am heading off to Findhorn in Scotland for an Experience Week this summer and must go online and book it. Have a look at their website: Yep, another hippy dippy thing; but I do love this stuff. It comes under the heading of "magic" for me. It is how I feed my soul. So I can write. Which reminds me ... I haven't done a tap of work this week! Tomorrow.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Off to the Country

I am off to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annagh-makerrig in County Monaghan for my annual get-down-to-serious work residency. The Book of Dreams needs to be wrestled to the ground and this will, I know, do it. I have almost finished reading/listening to it (see below) and making notes. Now I must re-work the demon line to co-ordinate with the new version of The Light-Bearer's Daughter and I want to revise Dana and Jean's line, also, i.e. develop it some more. Plus there is a lot of fat and unnecessary blather to trim. Meanwhile, here's a bluebell patch in the woods near Jampa Ling, the Buddhist retreat I go to in County Cavan. I've posted a pic of the big house on my regular blog. I think of Annaghmakerrig as my heart's home and Jampa Ling as my soul's home. And I know I am very lucky to have them both!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lewis, Tolkien, and Pullman

Ah, life and work can get very interesting at times. I've been asked to contribute to an anthology of essays on Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. I thoroughly enjoyed Pullman's books, despite my objections to his constant attacks on my two favourite writers, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Mind you, I'm sure he would shudder to hear that I didn't think he was attacking religion in his trilogy, but rather science! i.e. I thought the Church in the alternate Oxford was a reflection of the scientific community in our world. Afterall, it's scientists who experiment on living creatures and, if they get the chance, humans. Anyhoo, I've decided to write a paper discussing the influences of Lewis and Tolkien on Pullman's work. That should be fun. The anthology - which will also include an essay by my dear friend, Herbie Brennan of Faerie Wars - is due out at the same time as the first film. The publisher is American, based in Texas,

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Alchemyst

The new edition of The Light-Bearer's Daughter is dedicated to a dear friend and fellow writer, Michael Scott, whose own book - magical and amazing - is on its way out into the world this very month also. And Michael himself has just set out for a grand reading tour of America, including Hawaii, so keep a look out for him in case he is coming to your home. Here's his website if you want to know more about him: He is already famous for his many books on Irish fairy and folklore (some with gorgeous covers by Brian Froud) but this new fantasy series - which has been snapped up by New Line Cinema - is about to send him into the mega-stratosphere. And no better man. Hup ye boyo!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Thoughts of Narnia

I'm rather cross with the edition of The Chronicles of Narnia which I bought recently, published in one volume and stating "all seven books - unabridged." Though the text is, indeed, fully intact, the edition excludes a great number of Pauline Baynes's illustrations. Had I realised this, I would not have bought it. For me, since childhood, Miss Baynes's work is an integral part of my Narnian experience. And while I am griping, here's something else I object to: the insistence that one should read the books beginning in a certain order, i.e. with the most boring of them all (again, an opinion since childhood) The Magician's Nephew. Had I started with that book as a child, I would not have finished the series! I actually started with The Silver Chair, which I loved, and then sought out the book which I truly believe is the best one to start with, i.e. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Why? Because you couldn't possibly get the full thrill out of the creation of Narnia if you hadn't already bonded with that land through the first book written about it. Nowadays we would call The Magician's Nephew a prequel - something written after the original work, but referring to events chronologically preceding it. By its very nature, a prequel requires the prior experience of the original work for full comprehension and enjoyment. A final thought: while I have loved The Chronicles of Narnia all my life and always will, I do feel that the two weakest books are the ones which really can't stand alone, i.e. The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle. The first and the last stories in chronological terms, these books require the others in the series for emotional impact. The stories just aren't strong enough to engage you on their own, like say, The Horse and His Boy.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lá Bealtaine/May Day

On this very auspicious day - Lá Bealtaine or May Day - the new and improved version of The Light-Bearer's Daughter has begun her journey into the great land of America. Go well, my child. Meanwhile, on this side of the water, I celebrated the full moon and the fairy feast of May Eve (last night) by doing a fire-walk. Don't be fooled by the grey and ashen look of the ground here, caused by the camera's flash. It was all red and sparky when I strode through it! Four times. Yesiree. And on each side there was a little wall of flame and smoke. This was a shamanic first for me, but I also kept in mind both Dana and Laurel facing the feux follets in the final Chronicle of Faerie. There'll be some new bits added after this experience.