The King's Speech
I usually don't care a hoot about the Oscars.
But this year, I am very pleased about the triumph of the King's Speech. People have said it was boring, conservative, pro-monarchy, historically inaccurate (and a French journalist here is saying even worse, but that's typical arrogant, bitter jealousy from the French who are more and more excluded from the world's stage and culture thanks to their own stupidity: http://www.lemonde.fr/cinema/article/2011/02/01/le-discours-d-un-roi-comment-faire-un-roi-d-un-prince-begue_1473550_3476.html#ens_id=1481878
the only "French" thing they could find at the Oscars was the fact that Natalie Portman's fiance is a French dancer... That made me laugh...)
I loved the movie even though I am a republican, a very liberal and modern person. I love history, in particular British history. I loved the simplicity of the movie. I found it poignant. I am also very pleased that a British movie and British actors have won Oscars.
Well done to Natalie Portman too, her performance in Black Swan was fantastic - and I appreciate the amount of work she has put in in order to play dancer Nina.
A special mention for Trent Reznor, winner of the best soundtrack: he and his music have a very special place in my heart... He deserves it. Not bad for a "
Found yesterday in a charity shop - there is an amazing one for books not far from where I live:
Poems of Shelley, London, Macmillan and Co. 1880, 1880 Limited edition: only 500 copies were printed. The title page has an engraving of a mansion, framed by trees, by W. Roffe, printed on silk.
The pages are irregularly cut and you can see the work that has gone into the impression of the texts.
I am not someone who rejects technology but I am highly suspicious of it in general and use it succintly and cautiously.
One thing I know I will never take to: electronic books. I just cannot do it. I love books as objects, I love the feel of the paper, I like looking at the cover.
I also love old books, and the feeling you get while flicking through one of those will never be reproduced with an e-book.
This book I found yesterday is a pure object of beauty.
I know I had said I would never pay to enter a writing competition, but then I've just done it. I hesitated quite a while for this one, but then I kept coming back to it, weighing things up, is it a scam, is it all decided in advance, is it genuine? Who knows... But at £10.95 for a submission, well, I probably would have regretted not entering. So I've done it, and then I am going to kind of forget about it!
What I am I Reading page
I have finished three more books and still haven't written the few lines I had promised myself I would scribble about each of them. I am aiming at doing so before the end of this week...
Just reached the end of Tracy Chevalier's "Remarkable Creatures"...
Dracula on stage!
On Friday, we went to see “Dracula” at the very nearby Clifftown theatre and studios, located in a church originally built in 1865 (more details here: http://www.clifftowntheatre.co.uk/). The theatre is a cultural centre and the premises are used by the renowned East 15 Acting School, and that night, it was the turn of the BA acting and stage combat students to show us what they were made of.
We had a wonderful time watching this production and got completely taken in by the story - even though this is one I know so well, being an keen reader and student of gothic novels and Victorian literature.
The church organ offered a dramatic backdrop and the acting was excellent; special mention to Tom Clews whose Dracula was appropriately creepy, but also handsome and devilishly charming, and Kristopher Spry, whose impressive frame made him a perfectly authoritative and powerful Van Helsing. But it was the use of space – on stage and around the venue - that made this version of Bram Stoker's tale unique: fluid and choreographed, dynamic and physical, funny and innovative… This is what theatre should be like!
I need an Abbey in the UK that will be the home for the "cult of Thoth", the community established by Princess Amunet when she moves to England in 1840. I wanted one that would not feel too big and majestic but rather evoke hard work and discretion. I think I have found what I've been looking for, and therefore I will use Cleeve Abbey in Somerset as a model for the fictional abbey appearing in the book. These are gorgeous buildings, but also feel like a home - indeed, after the dissolution of Monasteries, it was promptly converted into a home, and it might be what saved the building from annihilation.
Writing has started here ...
After something of a false start yesterday - stuff to do! - I have now started my second novel, "The Book of Thoth" in earnest. 1,389 words today, I am quite happy!
Deadline for this one to be completed: December 2011 latest. There is still so much research to do, and more details to be worked out...
Not easy to put myself in the head of an 11 year-old boy living in 1925! But hey, I am not writing a realistic novel, so I am allowing myself some artistic licence here... Actually, due to the nature of the book I am writing - a Gothic Novel, or at least something kind of similar - I will probably allow myself quite a lot of it... But it's fun. I am challenging my imagination!
Writing starts here
Today, I am starting to write the introduction chapter of my new novel, "The Book of Thoth".
I feel stupidly excited about it.
Yesterday, I contacted another literary agent for my first novel, "I Am a Muse".
In the forthcoming weeks, I am going to look into self-publishing for my collection of texts, "Dysfunctions". I guess Lulu or blurb.com might be good enough for that type of work.
I will not self-publish my novels, as I really take my writing seriously and I don't think self-publishing would be a good idea. I have read some self-published books and the quality was appalling, in terms of characters, spelling, grammar... I do not want that for my books. If they are not good enough, they won;t get published and that's the end of it.
Making things difficult for myself...
Listening to the radio and looking at book reviews in newspapers recently has made me think that I probably haven't been doing the right thing about my writing career.
Instead of writing novels, why haven't I opted for the obvious choices that seem to be getting quite a lot of publicity these days?
I could have written my very own misery memoirs about depression and eating disorders, although it's true I haven't got any celebrity friends or haven't dated any actor.
I also could have written an oh-so-shocking-that-it-would-have-been-censored-by-the-education-minister(s) book about my years as a teacher in London, only telling it as it really is out there (you really don'twant to know...) and creating a bit of a stir in The Guardian and the TES book reviews pages. The stuff I've seen and heard... everything, apart from kids learning anything, ever.
But you know what, it would be so boring to write.
Therefore I am going to carry on the way I've started, just follwoing my instincts and interests. It might mean I will never be published, but at least I would have remained true to myself and to the dreams I had when I was a child, when I was dreaming of becoming a writer.
I have just discovered that a movie called "The Awakening" has just finished shooting and is tackling some of the topics I will be talking about in my new novel, "The Book of Thoth".
The entry on IMDb reads:
"1921 England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she knew in unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves."
OK, so my novel will be set in 2011 and 1926 and won't be taking place in a boarding school, but the backdrop of the post-WW1 and ghost apparitions etc. are common themes. I am so original. Damn! It's good I've thrown in a few Egyptian gods and an alchemist to make things even more confusing. :-)
I think therefore I write.
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