So I was asked to read a manuscript, with an eye to a possible stage adaptation. It happened in that roundabout way that entails friends and friends of mutual friends… I’m sure you know how it is. And because of some initial insistence that I should meet the author first, or I could not really understand, I went in with a certain amount of wariness… Continue reading
Once upon a time, I was in church, attending a funeral. I may as well confess beforehand that I’m not much of a church-goer and, when I can’t help going, I have this tendency to wander off in my head…
But this time I’m telling you about was the funeral of a dear friend’s father, and I’d resolved to pay attention – at least a little. Only, I was late, so in the end I found myself standing in the back of a very crowded church, one I’d never entered before, trying hard to listen to the parson. Well, after a while I happened to notice some saint’s statue standing by the altar, all the way across the church. It was not an especially beautiful, or even old statue – but it was peculiar: the saint, whoever he was, wore a flimsy, short-sleeved shirt, and… trunk hose? Continue reading
Here I am, dreaming of a White Christmas – and not likely to have one, it seems, except for the frost. And I’m not exactly pining, but I sigh, and mumble to myself, and hopefully study the skies, and this kind of things.
To which many of my friends shake their heads, and a few actually scold me: when shall I grow up? Don’t I know what a damn nuisance snow is? Have I never suffered through the bother and disruption snow can cause? Continue reading
I like my tea with milk.
I drink a good deal of it – five, six big cups a day – with milk, and no sugar. It’s a habit acquired decades ago, during my first Scottish summer, and I’m quite happy with it, thank you very much. And because tea requires some calm to brew and drink, I seldom order it in cafés or suchlike places, where I usually happen in a hurry.
Then one day, last year, I went to a local café with some friends. It was a nice calm Sunday afternoon, and we settled in the garden and decided on tea. “With milk for me, please,” I told the friend who went inside to order for us all. Soon enough, the friend came back, amused and bemused… Continue reading
They’ve arrived to me in the most roundabout of ways. They’ve heard I “know about the Brontës” – which is somewhat true, considering that I’ve given a number of talks about the family, and garnered some attention, years ago, with a short play about brother Branwell.
So they wonder, would I be interested in coordinating a huge inter-school project about Charlotte Brontë and youth problems… Continue reading
“Imagine you can spend a day inside a book,” was the prompt – one of those things going around on Facebook, you know, that a friend passed on to me. “What would you choose?”
My first reaction was one of eager glee – entering books having always been one of my fondest imaginings, together with, or even a little ahead of, time-travel. So this was a game I was most happy to play… or so I thought, until it came to really choosing. Continue reading
And so I found out just why they wouldn’t put me in touch with the interviewer: they simply couldn’t, because there was no such person.
Nobody to talk to the authors – unless I did it. Continue reading
Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season I liked mostly for its use of the sound of language in imagery and as a narrative device. I meant, things like this are just beautiful:
Consonants are the camels of language, proudly carrying their lingual loads. Vowels, however, are a different species, the fish that flash and glisten in the watery depths. Vowels are elastic and inconstant, fickle, and unfaithful.
Having mild synaesthesia, I’ve always associated sounds with colour. The iridescence of vowels I first found in Goldberg’s novel, and I fell in love with it: it was a little revelation, of the finding-words-for-a-hazy-thought variety. It is an idea I always use when trying to teach someone the joys, sorrows and mysteries of English pronunciation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Continue reading