RAOC War Memorial at Deepcut

RAOC War Memorial at Deepcut
RAOC War Memorial at Deepcut

Monday, 26 January 2009

Shakespeare - AL Rowse and cutting edge language

The first biography of Shakespeare written by an historian.

The significance of this shines from the very first page as the reader is lead into the detail of life in Stratford. Rowse serves up the evidence he has unearthed of the financial and other dealings of the Shakespeare family and their circle. It has a flavour of archeology as the facts are presented and the reader is invited to help find into which sort of pattern they might fit.


The most exciting observation I have read so far is about the newness of language. We read Shakespeare and the King James Bible and weary sometimes at their antiquity. Wrong, wrong, wrong. These books were cutting edge of the new English language, quite possibly shocking but definitely the sort of thing bright young men and women would get very excited about.

This is the swinging sixties of the sixteen century

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Notes on an exhibition -the author's perspective

Patrick Gale came to talk to us at the Professional Writing Course at University College Falmouth and was particularly helpful about the process of writing. He passed round the manuscript of his latest novel which showed the hand writing with which he starts and the manuscript alterations which follow. Then came the first typed draft, again with subsequent manuscript amendments. It is a process which demands discipline.

I have already begun to use the leather covered note book my wife, Maggie, gave me for Christmas! It brings to writing a sense that it is special but combined with the fact that it will alter, not least in the process of putting it onto computer.

Patrick spoke of how he wrote Notes on an Exhibition. I had already observed the way point of view moves and I asked him about this. He explained that he had written the book as really a series of short stories all around the heroine Rachel, and he had then placed them in some sort of order. It shines out that the story holds together through the relationship of the characters rather than through any clear thread of plot.

It is refreshing and inspiring .

Sunday, 4 January 2009

1599 A year in the life of William Shakespeare

My purpose in reading James Shapiro's superb work is to feel the world in which Chrispin Kyd lived. Chrispin is the hero of my teen fiction set in Elizabethan England. The initial idea was a trilogy with the first around Walsingham and spies. I am now attracted by the interpretation of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and its implications for a bright grammar school boy. The key for me is to assess the degree to which such a boy might sense what is abroad politically.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Notes on an exhibition - another change of pov

Having spent time with Antony, Patrick Gale passes us on to his son Garfield, or rather not his son; Garfield being the child of the Professor whose brush off may have resulted in Rachel's first suicide attempt. The affect is fascinating. It is like looking through a prism, almost the same view but from different perspectives. The strong Quaker theme is encouraging for someone who wants to include a spiritual element in his writing. There are small hints of Joanna Trollope or even Mary Wesley

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Notes from an exhibition - Patrick Gale

The teen novel is still in process but the hunger for something more substantial took hold. Patrick Gale is a writer in the ascendency. His book begins slowly. We are allowed to spend time with artist Rachel as she wakes and prepares to paint. It is a pleasant pace, with short moments when the motion quickens. I note the contrast with my own first draft of my first chapter where there is too little time for contemplation - this will be addressed.
Back to Notes from an Exhibition, the second chapter moves the pov from Rachel to her husband Anthony and a good number of years earlier at Oxford. The first point of note is ther similarity with the early part of Engleby but the second is the more technical question of the stance of the narrator. H. Porter Abbott in The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative explores the distance of the narrator from the characters (2002:67) and I sense that Gale is closer to Anthony than he was to Rachel. This may well change, but I note it as work in progress at page 18 of the 2008 Harper papaerback..