Tuesday 31 March 2009
Monday 30 March 2009
Sunday 29 March 2009
above the dark castle -
Saturday 28 March 2009
Hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn their lights off for one hour to show global leaders that they want strong action to tackle climate change.
Will you join them? Turn off the lights (and other electricals, yes including the computer!) at 8.30pm. We will be switching off, as will public buildings in Edinburgh.
Find out more at the Earth Hour website.
Friday 27 March 2009
I had a nice supper with colleagues from Newcastle, Bristol and Perth on Wednesday and last night there was a barbeque at the farm. Sam the lamb was there and chewed everyone's shoe laces but was otherwise well behaved. I also got to say goodbye to the bunnies.
Gorgie Farm is just down the road from where I live so in a sense I haven't really left and will continue to blog about it. I also hope to do some writing workshops there in the near future.
I start a new job next Tuesday and will blog about that briefly next week!
Thursday 26 March 2009
Wednesday 25 March 2009
smoothly over serene water
under the surface, riots
of toads fight and mate
like warty jewels
carrying the smaller males
on their backs
Seasonal change for Totally Optional Prompts
Tuesday 24 March 2009
I was disappointed by the adverts before the film, the sound was muted like some sort of pathetic attempt at subversion or apology, but it was still 15 minutes encouraging us to buy cars and stuff (though at least there was an ad for the Co-operative Bank in there).To find out more and get involved visit The Age of Stupid campaign website.
Monday 23 March 2009
I have a couple of haiku up on Spring Haiku, you can read them here.
Sunday 22 March 2009
Saturday 21 March 2009
The wooded area along the Braid Burn was covered in wild garlic, growing like a particularly luxuriant grass, plenty of ferns in good leaf. The trees were full of birdsong and there were loads of jackdaws calling and flying around. We saw a dipper rushing along the river and two grey wagtails feeding and fluttering over the water.
Thursday 19 March 2009
Also reading was Angela McSeveney. Slaughtering Beetroot the title poem of her new collection is a very entertaining poem, a must read for all vegetarians. Best served with a glass of fine red wine as it was.
Darwin's Microscope by Kelley Swain, Flambard Press 2009
Slaughtering Beetroot by Angela McSeveney, Mariscat Press 2008
Wednesday 18 March 2009
Tuesday 17 March 2009
The farm is looking for people who would like to to help out on the stall itself, but also people who can help to improve the link between the stall and the farm gardens, learning about what's growing, picking produce and selling it to the public.
So, if you live in Edinburgh and either would like to volunteer with the stall or know anyone who might want to or could pass the word around people you know, then please contact the Gorgie Farm Garden Project directly on 0131 337 4202 or email gardenATgorgiefarmDOTorgDOTuk.
Sunday 15 March 2009
leaving green meadows shy
of flowers and sunshine
floods flashing to fading rivers
a knock on the door
if anyone listens
glaciers are retreating across the world at an alarming rate -
read more over at The Guardian
Ice for Weekend Wordsmith
Friday 13 March 2009
You can read a longer review of this book, written by Andrea, over on Heavy Petals, here.
Second Nature by Michael Pollan, Bloomsbury Paperbacks 1996
Wednesday 11 March 2009
dusted with icing sugar -
snow on ploughed fields
I posted a senryu for this topic on Over Forty Shades here.
I've also got a haiku on a different topic over on Spring Haiku Daily, which you can read here.
Tuesday 10 March 2009
You can raise money for Gorgie City Farm by using Everyclick as your search engine. Find out more here and you can sign up here.
Monday 9 March 2009
Violet Ackerman has drifted through a career, four children and a divorce without ever knowing who she is or what she wants. After moving to the coast, she starts receiving a series of mysterious letters sent from a mother and baby home in 1959, written by a pregnant twenty-year-old Elizabeth to her best friend. Who is sending Violet these letters, and why?
One of the things I most noticed about The Letters was the attention Fiona has paid to detailed descriptions, of both the natural world and her characters. This should not surprise anyone who knows Fiona's writing from her blog A Small Stone but I thought I would ask here how the practice of noticing details every day feeds into writing a novel as well as the balance between her prose and her poetry.
1. When writing your small stone every day do you see that as separate from your novel writing, or as practice or as potential material to be included? I do see it as a way of honouring my commitment to being a writer, and so I suppose you could see it as a kind of practice - as a noun as well as a verb. I also see writing small stones as helping me to pay attention, even if I ony notice one thing properly every day. I don't think I've ever used one in a longer piece of writing - they arise as they are and I haven't tried transplanting them!
2. How do you decide the level of detailed description to include in a novel?
I don't think it's a conscious decision. When I'm writing a scene I'll 'look around' and see what I notice - the details present themselves to me most of the time rather than me having to dig around for them. Obviously too many details would get very tiring for the reader - when I'm doing my drafting hopefully I'll spot the passages that are too clotted with details and thin them out.
3. How much do you feel that detailed description adds to the vividness of a character compared to say dialogue?
Vivid is a good word. I think extremely specific detail can conjure a character better than anything else, but maybe this also includes a particular phrase or word they might use, so dialogue can contain detail too.
4. You've also had a collection of poetry published. Do you use detail differently in your prose and your poetry?
I think my background in poetry has given me a love of the SOUND of prose - the rhythms, the way the words sound when you roll them around in your mouth. I try to write 'poetically', whatever that means - especially when it comes to the details. I think poems can take more vivid language than prose, as you're concentrating much harder when you read a poem - although some prose can be chock full of poetry, like Annie Dillard's work. I love what Gretel Ehrlich once said, about sneaking poems into her book 'This Cold Heaven'. I'd aspire to that.
5. How do you decide which ideas will become poetry and which will become prose?
My fiction so far has been inspired by the main characters appearing in my head. They're a bit fuzzy to start with - I had a vague impression of Violet (from The Letters) as a wiry, prickly woman who wore long flapping cardigans - but as time goes on I get to know them better and they tell me their story. Poems are usually inspired when I notice something in the outside world which leads me to further thought. In a way, the ideas decide for themselves what they want to be. Although I haven't written poetry for a while - I don't think there's enough space for poems in my life at the moment...
Thanks Fiona for your answers! The Letters is published by Snowbooks * £7.99 * ISBN 9781906727062
Sunday 8 March 2009
1. Edwin Morgan (poetry)
2. Ruth Padel (poetry and non-fiction)
3. Haruki Murakami (novels and short stories)
4. Polly Clark (poetry)
5. Jackie Kay (poetry, novels, drama)
6. Stephen Pinker (linguistics)
7. Jared Diamond (non fiction)
8. Barbara Kingsolver (novels and essays)
9. Italo Calvino (novels and short stories)
10. Patrick White (novels)
11. Margaret Atwood (poetry)
12. Fernando Pessoa (poetry and creative prose)
Then there are books that are in themselves that are influential even if I am not particularly influenced by the writer's other books, or even if I haven't read anything else by them:
1. Kazuo Ishiguro - The Unconsoled
2. Bahiyyih Nakhjavani - Paper
3. Nuruddin Farah - Maps
4. Orhan Pamuk - My Name is Red
5. Heidi Julavits - The Effect of Living Backwards
6. Salvador Plascencia - People of Paper
7. Peter Adamson - The Tuscan Master
8. Anna Maria Ortese - The Iguana
9. Alan Lightman - Einstein's Dreams
1o. David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
By influenced, I really mean these writers and books have really made me think about the potential of language and how it can be used, not that their influence can necessarily be traced in my poetry! Now I'm supposed to tag 25 people to choose their 25 most influential writers, well I'll give it a go:
Fiona Robyn (who I'm going to be interviewing tomorrow as part of her book blog tour)
Weaver of Grass
Caroline at Coastguard
Deb and/or Whirling Dervish
No that's not 25, but feel free to add yourself to the list, if you do, be sure to let me know, so i can come and read your list!
Saturday 7 March 2009
Friday 6 March 2009
Thursday 5 March 2009
Wednesday 4 March 2009
Tuesday 3 March 2009
through rusting clouds
shrinking herself paler
until she sits white
high in the sky
the lights of a plane
flash on and off
I also have a piece about the moon up at A Handful of Stones today, you can read it here.
For a crafty moon please see Moonlit rabbit
Moon for Inspire Me Thursday
Monday 2 March 2009
You can now raise money for Gorgie City Farm on Everyclick, the search engine that raises money for charities. You use it like any other search engine, and every search you make raises funds for your favourite charity (mine now being Gorgie City Farm). You can find out more here and start fundraising for the farm here.