Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Tao of Equus

As I mentioned in my t'other Blog, the main character in my new adult work People of the Great Journey, has made it clear to me that she is a horsewoman. Since I am anything but, this has sent me down a path of serious research on horses and riding. Given that I am terrified of the great and noble creatures I am reading books, cleaning stables and admiring them from afar. However, this latest book I am reading - The Tao of Equus by Linda Kohanov - is slowly but surely convincing me that I must go to the riding stables near me and get on a horse. (Omigod. Breathe.) The book itself is stunning. It has moved me to tears on more than one occasion. One of her insights early on resonated for me with instant truth, i.e. that humans did not consciously domesticate the horse but rather that species chose to enter into relationship with us. This corresponds to my own belief that, contrary to the notion we are the dominant species on the planet and animals are 'beneath' us, we are, in fact, the slow learners of the world and all the higher-souled animals around us have consented to suffer at our hands in order to help us evolve. (Photo credit: Linda and her horse, Rasa,

Friday, May 15, 2009

Iron Butterfly - In A Gadda Da Vida

I'm using this song in my new book (the adult one). My main character is humming it and then singing it. It was first a hit in the 60s but was still being played non-stop in the 70s (my day), and it went on for way longer than this. These guys are still BRILLIANT. Sigh. They just don't make 'em like they used to.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gale Group Ignorance

Bloody hell, I was just reading over this long database bio thing the Gale Group sent me for some series they do on modern authors (which I can't access unless I pay) and I could hardly believe my eyes. First they put: born, Dublin, Ireland. Then they put: nationality, British. How DUMB-ASS can you get? That kind of political and historical ignorance in what is supposed to be a research and information group is mind-staggering. Hardly inspires confidence in any other data they provide, eh? All my ancestors turned over in their graves.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Pushkin Workshops

Last year I posted pics of beautiful Kilruddery House where I facilitated creative writing workshops for the Pushkin Trust Programme founded and run by the Duchess of Abercorn who lives in Northern Ireland. This year, as in many years past, I was invited up to her estate at Baronscourt in Co. Tyrone to put on workshops there along with visiting environmentalists and other artists. As always, the writing workshops were held in the little log cabin near a river. The theme of this year's workshops was "The Tree of Life" so we spent some time outdoors imagining we were trees before we came inside to write. I decided we would tackle various writing 'genres' such as comics, ads, posters, songs, sketches and riddles as well as the usual poems and stories. Great fun was had by all! (Note: I don't post pictures of the children involved. They were all standing behind me giggling as I took these shots.) I love my work.

Friday, May 01, 2009

More Bronte

Nope, I definitely didn't read Jane Eyre before or I would have remembered. What an incredible story! What exquisite writing! And such deep psychological insight long before psychology came into vogue. I was caught from the very first page. And new words which I had to look up! (Excited noise. This rarely happens, except when I read John Banville. Even literature is dumbed down these days.) Inanition: exhaustion caused by lack of nourishment. Hmm, you could do a Ph.D. on the Brontes focusing on that word. Animadversion: criticism or censure. I shall have a long list by the time I have finished this glorious book. (And I shall be speaking like a person of that era for a while, the way I pick up accents.) Can't wait to use the new words in my own work. As far as I can tell, aside from the occasional complaint, my readers like that I send them to the dictionary, even as I like it when writers do that to me.