Well, this year, thanks to a longer rehearsals break, I’ve decided that things can take care of themselves for a few days while I read a little for fun and pleasure… Continue reading
Come to think of it, there’s a good deal of fiction set in XVIIIth and Early XIXth Century England that deals with smuggling… Daphne Du Maurier‘s Jamaica Inn, Georgette Heyer‘s The Unknown Ajax and The Talisman Ring, Rosemary Sutcliff‘s Flame Coloured Taffeta, and Russell Thorndyke’s Doctor Syn novels come to mind – but there are many more stories of the Free Traders, or Gentlemen, as they were commonly called, sneaking into England such goods as French liquor, silk and lace under the noses of the excisemen… Continue reading
Well, of course I want many things – one does. But these past days, as I took my two-day reading holyday (which happily and unexpectedly blossomed and became three days instead), I realized this particular thing: I want to write something that leaves the reader book-lagged.
You know what I mean: when you finish a book, and start the next one – and feel out of place, because you miss the one you just finished. As though you had traveled from one place to another, and couldn’t quite fit in the new place.
Finishing Sutcliff’s Simon, and missing the Civil War as I followed Thomas Dallam in his voyages. And then finding my sea-legs, and settling down – which is a bad choice of image for what is essentially a book of travels – and then missing Dallam very much as I went on to read Beagle’s Tamsin, all the more so because Jenny Gluckstein’s tale begins in modern-day New York. And then realising that all that modern-day New York, and the skilful foreshadowing was drawing me in so very well, and loving the whole thing so much that, for the third time in as many days, I’m book-lagged again.
And yes – this is what I want to do. To make up a world so vivid that the reader can feel it, and people so engaging, and stories so engrossing that the reader will miss them, afterwards. And have trouble adjusting to the world, people and stories of the next book. Or play – of course.
I’m off to write a good deal this year. I have plays in mind, and both monologues and short stories have developed a habit of just cropping up, and demanding to be written, and this is the year I go back to novel-writing, as well. A good deal of writing, yes. And while I’m at it, perhaps book-lag/play-lag is not a bad thing to strive for.
I’m well past childhood but, being the youngest – and indeed, the only young-ish – member of my family, I still get Saint Lucia. In the morning of the thirteenth, I wake up to find my little coloured parcels, and a sinful plate of candy…
This year, together with an elephant-shaped mug and a lovely glass ornament for the Christmas tree, Saint Lucia has left for me two historicals by Rosemary Sutcliff who, in spite of being a children’s author, is a writer right up my alley – or so I’m told.
That she writes tales from British history and was inspired by Kipling’s works seems very promising. From the hastiest perusal of her extensive bibliography, Kipling’s influence is clear. Just have a look at title and synopses: they have Puck of Pook’s Hill written all over…
I also like what Sally Hawkins writes here about Sutcliff’s novels, and how they sparked off her love of history, and her lack of condescension towards younger readers… As I said, it’s all very promising. Then again, Saint Lucia is seldom wrong. So, no matter how the show goes tonight, I can anticipate coming home to a pleasant few hours of reading one of my new Sutcliffs.
Thank you, Saint Lucia.