…And the blackbird’s tune,
And May, and June!
– De Gustibus, Robert Browning
I’ve added a lot of tags to this post; my four weeks away from writing and blogging generated quite a few thoughts and ideas, as well as some laziness and hesitation to put back on the harness of necessity and resume ploughing my writing field.
But here I am, and I thought I’d change things up a bit with my update posts; this one is more in the format of a newsletter – I haven’t set a formal newsletter email up yet, constant reader, as I’m looking for low cost PO box options in the UK. Suggestions welcome!
So, what did I do with myself during May, and what’s been happening in my reading and writing world? Well…
I didn’t complete the challenge to write a poem for all thirty days of April, but I’m pleased with the ones I did manage to write; (you can read them here). Time constraints, rather than a lack of ideas, was my main enemy, so I may continue the challenge and post further poems on the subjects of The Troubles. It was however pretty dark, reading the potted stories of the people killed during just one year of The Troubles, and it may be that my break from the subject was necessary; it’s a subject very close to home and often too close for my emotional comfort.
We went to Greece for ten days, to Afitos, a village on the Kassandra peninsula in northern mainland Greece. It was our second visit there, and our first time in AirBnB accommodation. We both love everything about Greece, except for the heartbreaking number of stray cats (and increasingly, dogs); I would happily spend the whole summer there. As it was fairly early in the season, we often had the beach, the sea and the sky to ourselves. Listening to the waves of the sea, in this case the Thracian Sea, is always a deeply calming, almost spiritual experience for me, and the holiday strengthened my resolve that my next home will be within hail of the sea, any sea.
What I’m Reading, and a New Story Idea
I have an idea for a novel; I know, I know, I’m already working (slowly) on two in progress, but the muse sticks her oar in whether I want her to or no! I’ve downloaded a couple of novels based on a premise I’m interested in; a novel covering the events of a single day, that weaves back and forth in time to explore issues and themes with a group of characters. Confession time; I know it’s very clever and groundbreaking, but I just don’t care for James Joyce’s Ulysses. I love how the story is framed within the episodes of Homer’s “Odyssey”, but still, I’m unmoved by its cleverness.
So instead, I’m rereading Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, which I also hated when I first read it for my A Level English Literature. I think I couldn’t relate to the rarefied upper-middle class world of Mrs Dalloway, but I think a re read will be rewarding, in particular the themes it deals with that were ahead of their time, particularly sexuality and mental illness.
I’ve also ordered Ian McEwan’s Saturday, which deals with a single day in the life of a neurosurgeon; written in 2005 it will surely deal with some more recent issues, but a brief scan of Amazon and Goodread’s reviews leaves me nervous; is it masterful, or pretentious twaddle? I’ll let you have my thoughts.
I’m still working through the Selected Poems of Ulster-man John Hewitt; I am taking his words in like you should with the Northern Irish scenery, with plenty of revisits.
Stories Out with Editors
With #NaPoWriMo and holidays, I haven’t written any short or flash fiction in a while. I was hoping to hear back about the 5,000 word Lovecraftian story I submitted a couple of months back, but the editors had some personal issues, so responses have been delayed. I should hear within a week! I have high hopes for this tale, it’s (in my opinion) wonderfully degenerate!
I’d love to hear how your writing is going, and what you’re reading? Whatever you’re doing, have a great June.