I keep making, and then breaking, a promise to myself to return to blogging. Blogging is a good thing, I feel, indeed a very good thing for a writer to do, but terribly revealing, and I’m not a pretty specimen when standing naked in front of the world. It feels safer to resume by reminding the thinning hordes of my loyal readers of a blog I particularly enjoy, by a writer I particularly enjoy: Doris Egan’s Tightrope Walker.
And if you haven’t read any of Egan’s delightful novels, please do. We need to convince her to return to novel writing!
‘Discovery commences with the awareness of anomaly.’ – Thomas Kuhn
I’ve been thinking about blogging again, and it seems appropriate for a writer to begin with a quote from a description sheet for an item I recently bought:
Automatic quick fit bottom senior AB glue and can achieve protective film posting and repeated post, can easily be membrane with good.
Sometimes my writing may be less than clear, but this description is absolutely wonderful! It feels as if it’s been written by an offworlder I’ve yet to create.
If any of my readers can identify the product, be aware that it may out you as an alien.
My daughter Esther’s two films — ‘G.’ and ‘The Beautiful Mind’ — premiered today at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival. ‘G.’ was made for the perfume by Hamburg fragrance designer Christian Plesch and ‘The Beautiful Mind’ for cult perfumer Geza Schoen.
Schoen believes that ‘the sexiest thing about a woman is her mind’, a view which his The Beautiful Mind Series celebrates.
BLUFF OR MAGIC? Nasengold’s G-Spot may very well be devilish!
Update: ‘G.’ has been awarded an Editing Prize.
Lola and Taro, two lonely children, live in the fairytale world of an abandoned attic, hidden from nameless danger. Despite her own needs, Lola looks after her small brother. One evening, when Taro begs her to play a game of hide-and-seek, the situation careens out of control. Lola takes out her biggest fear on Taro. Merry-Go-Round exists in an internal universe in which the relationship between two children becomes the mirror of the world at large.
My daughter Esther’s film Merry-Go-Round has been accepted at the Viewster Online Film Fest:
Please watch, like, comment, and especially send this on to as many people as possible. Prize money will be awarded on the basis of audience voting (i.e. LIKES), which would help Esther to make her next film.
To vote, you need to register or sign in (via Facebook is possible, for example), then watch and like a minimum of three films. It’s not necessary to watch each film in its entirety: there’s a countdown which runs — often for 60 seconds — after which you can ‘like’ the film. Liking is the way you vote, and again, you need to like three films before they count as votes. It sounds complicated, and isn’t well explained at the website, but it’s actually quite easy.
Do try to spread the word around. Thanks!
Arast was accompanied by two of his own people, and though they seemed uncomfortable about dining with him, Tilka not only insisted but went out of her way to include them in the conversation. On his home worlds, Arast would be used to elaborate ritual, formal attire, haute cuisine, power-jockeying innuendo, and deference, yet he was all affability at the meal, praising but not overpraising the natural beauty of the estate, the simple food. If he noticed that meat or fish wasn’t served, he gave no sign of it. His trace of an accent would be deemed charming by most women. The few times he addressed his companions directly, he spoke as if to equals with an ease that many diplomats took years to acquire, the wet bite of his mother tongue unnecessary to his purpose, his fluency in Kearth Standard a given, the disarming lilt and tease of the vernacular demonstrating that he had no need to assert the authority of a man who, all knew, controlled the workings of an entire planetary system. Luc didn’t trust him. A tactless offworlder might have asked about their wings. Kearthers were the only humans to have evolved them-—the only intelligent winged species yet encountered, though Luc sometimes felt that birds were decidedly smarter than people. There were several theories to account for the origin of flight, none fully backed by empirical evidence, and only the sketchiest hypotheses to link human and avian lineage. Most evolutionary biologists preferred a convergent evolutionary model but still could not answer such fundamental questions as why here? why us? Origin myths seemed almost as satisfactory, and rather more entertaining.
Another taster from Over Which Scavenger Angels, my new novel.
A short excerpt from Over Which Scavenger Angels, my current novel-in-progress.* Lily, one of the main characters, is a photographer, at least on this world.
After ringing her cleaner, Lily packed an overnight bag, some sandwiches, and a bottle of decent Merlot. And then went back to the kitchen for a packet of prunes. Recently, she’d begun to read about ageing, the ‘never again’ of Simone de Beauvoir an antidote to Pilates porn. It felt important for an assessor to take with her an understanding of what it means to grow old, and frail. It felt as if it would make her a better assessor, though she wasn’t sure why. You could only mine an experience if you actually, well, experienced it, and hers would always be a pseudojourney into decline, however stiff her gait on rising. At least her vision was still sharp, or sharp enough, though she needed reading glasses now. For years she hadn’t left her house without a camera, but no longer, another sign that her time here was coming to an end. It was her way of readying herself, akin to the leave-taking from a slowly dying companion: rehearsing the irreversible, what people here call the incomprehensible, as though by dismantling the scenic elements one by one, detaching the lift lines, they could face the final curtain. And yet, here she was, trying to accustom herself to the loss of this wrinkled face, this draughty tower, this script. She had come to acquire a taste for irony. She fetched her Hasselblad.
Children’s writer Nick Green hears strains of My Way accompanying Lily’s rather ironical voice:
*Regarding my progress: I too have a taste for irony.
There’s been quite a bit of hype lately about Garth Risk Hallberg’s forthcoming debut novel City on Fire, and since million-dollar deals are a grand way to inspire envy in the breast (or maybe belly) of lesser mortals, and make the day’s work impossible for writers plagued by doubt and uncertainty (who, me?), yesterday I dug out my copy of Best New American Voices 2008 to read his story Early Humans. And guess what? It’s good. The narrator’s voice is spot on, undiluted 21st century West Coast American, so exasperating that you’re soon hoping for a really monstrous quake to hit California and sink Stan along with every one of his fellow agents—writers will know what I mean.
Except. Except that Hallberg pulls off the wonderful (and extremely difficult) task of making this already sinking agent sympathetic to us. It’s the sort of balance between repugnance and empathy that satire aims for, or at least ought to. I’m always skeptical about narration in the first-person present tense, but in Hallberg’s hands it’s Stan’s sad bulwark against his quaking world. Hallberg gets it just right. He gets us.
My favourite ladle (from a Cape Town craftswoman)!