Monday 30 March 2015

This week: 29/3/15

  • Due to various demands and responsibilities, I’m in that horrible territory known as three-day-week land. Looks like it may go on for some time and trying to work through it just makes me burn out faster. I don’t like it.
  • Anyway, I had a wild weekend looking at art by Matt Stokes. One of my friends, Charlie Seber, is at the heart of a show called Madman in a Lifeboat. It’s part of a multi-media installation which I explained to my daughter as being like an SF story (about the movement known as the Truth Reality Activists). Instead of reading a book, you put the story together from a ‘museum display’. I found the script of the film at the heart of this show very funny right from the start so it was exciting to see it all put together.
    Then we drove across London (aaargh!) to see Cantata Profana which consists of these heavy metal dudes getting it on. I thought it was brilliant. The first time I watched it I laughed, the second time I got into it, the third time, if my well-wishers hadn’t dragged me away, I would have been banging my head on the walls. It’s in the oldest concrete church in Britain, no longer a church of course.
  • So then we went to see Studio Ghibli’s Tale of the Princess Kaguya on Sunday night at the cinema. It's not something that should be seen lightly by any couple whose only child is a beautiful pale-skinned daughter with long dark hair. Like us. Kaguya's life starts well, but her father thinks he knows what's best for her, he really does, and the results are appalling.  I think we all cried, but it is very beautiful, and very, very well observed. We think it's quite subversive of all kinds of traditional values, perhaps a bit belatedly. The original story is here.
  • Our daughter has now gone off for her Easter holiday with her grandparents, assuring us that like Kaguya herself, she is returning to her true home on the moon. We have asked her to bring back some cheese.
  • I'm trying to read too much at once, but I don't care. Discovered the desperately sleazy tale of author Benjanun Sriduangkaew's previous activities and was shocked into reading their book immediately since it was on my list. It should have been Asian mythology week here, clearly, but Scale-Bright wasn't really up to it (though it had some good points). I'm finishing up Palace of Illusions, a version of the Mahabharata story from the point of view of Draupadi and it's a million times superior. The original story behind Scale-Bright is cool though.
  • It's been blustery.

Monday 23 March 2015

This week: 22/3/15

  • Monday was a travel day, Tuesday was a homeschooling day! I took the kid to the dentist, taught German, voice projection and other elements of public speaking, went to the Royal Opera House’s very good cinema transmission of Swan Lake. It was fun, but having a three-day work week stresses me out. 
  • Despite this, the editing, interior design and book cover design process are going reasonably well. 
  • Changed the way I use Goodreads to adapt to the fact that there are no private shelves. Instead of everything I’ve ever read, I’ve now only got books I read recently, and actually want to review and discuss. In my to-read shelf, I’ve only got books I plan to read this year. 
  • Signed up for Eastercon. Better late than never is only true if you get a membership before they sell out. I think sales must have slowed down a bit after the hotel rooms ran out first. I live in London, so although it’s a bit of a trek, I’m sleeping at home. 
  • Friday was the last great solar eclipse of Britain’s foreseeable future but it was a wash-out. Not that it didn’t get dark and dingy under the clouds, just no darker and dingier than is typical for Britain. 
  • Finished the beta read I’m doing for James Latimer’s The Winter Warrior. It gets a big thumbs up, and some more detailed comments written out this week. Blew 35 quid ordering Umberto Eco’s The Legendary Lands and ended up with something beautiful and also - as it is Eco - eminently readable. 
  • Had to blow off some things I wanted to do. For instance, due to general tiredness and a short week, I just couldn’t keep up with the course on Australian Literature on Coursera, nor did I manage to have a social life with anyone other than my daughter. Or get any of the extra writing done that I usually do.

Monday 16 March 2015

This week: 15/3/15

  • Greatly tempted by a signed copy of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Buried Giant but left it for someone else in the end. The e-book is next on my reading list. 
  • Stagnated a bit on some editing of The American Dream, but to make up for it, I’ve been getting to grips with the e-book conversion process, making a mock-up of my book cover idea, and getting professional help sorted out! 
  • Saw Roy Williams’ Antigone at Stratford east on Tuesday night. Loved the urban grunge theme. Take away message: you can be powerful, but if you break the laws of human nature, you will pay. Wish it were true, but suspect people’s perception of the laws of human nature is socially mediated anyway. 
  • Went swimming and wished I’d been more often. Have decided a writer’s life is unnaturally sedentary. A natural lifestyle would involve hunting and gathering stories all day and telling them round the fire in the evening. 
  • Terry Pratchett died. I believe he was a good person, though I never met him personally. I know he was a great writer. The newspapers are filled with quotes he placed in the mouth of Death. 
  • Spent the weekend in Nottinghamshire for Mother’s Day. Ate too much, drank too much, had fun!