Poet’s Cottage has been attracting some lovely reviews this week. Thank you very much to Auckland Library for their review HERE. It was most interesting to see how the reader picked up the Enid Blyton influence in the book.
I should say, however, that Pearl Tatlow in Poet’s Cottage is NOT Enid Blyton in any way shape or form. I was always fascinated by how Enid Blyton’s two daughters, Gillian and Imogen, had totally opposing views of their mother. I knew one day I would write about this theme and it simmered away for years.
It interested me greatly because I knew of other families besides Enid’s – including my own – where children with identical upbringings have totally different accounts of events. It really made me contemplate truth, memory and history. How do we know what the bones are really singing?
Whether Enid Blyton was a good mother or not never affected how I feel about Blyton. I know she made my childhood magical and I still love curling up with a Famous Five or one of her boarding school stories. But I was fascinated by the family set-up where you have to try to uncover whether the bones are lying or being truthful – or both at the same time.
My writing friend, Jen Storer posted a lovely blog on Enid Blyton and Johnny Cash HERE.
And my other writing friend Kate Forsyth was in the Spectrum this weekend with a beautiful photo of her reading to her daughter HERE. I was thrilled to see Kate also loves to collect the vintage editions of Enid Blyton rather than the sanitised versions. I agree that writers should be read as products of their time and not have their words reshaped to fit the mindset of later generations.
The images of Enid Blyton in this post I found HERE. They are from an interview that Enid gave shortly before her death and I find them moving and poignant. They capture the fragility of the woman behind the words.
I’m so grateful for all the lovely reviews of Poet’s Cottage and that so many people have taken the time to discuss their thoughts on the characters and the set-up. It has been fascinating to see how the book has really delighted people from a range of backgrounds and ages.
Poet’s Cottage is an accomplished, engrossing novel with fine language and powerful descriptions of the small town inhabitants of Pencubbit in both past and modern times. Most of all, in creating the damaged and damaging Pearl, the author has created a character so compelling and complex that the image of her lingers just as surely as the strains of music from her gramophone drifted through Poet’s Cottage both before and after her death.
I shall post links to some other reviews as soon as I get a chance.
Life has been hectic here in the Little Brick with my daughter home on holidays. She is writing more than I am able to at the moment. I do love seeing her happy and creative and able to stay in her pyjamas all day if she wishes.
We went to see the movie Brave, which was a wonderful film showing the power plays between mother and daughters. I shamed myself by weeping over the final scenes and my daughter had nightmares that night over the bear – but still, a glorious couple of hours in the cinema. The writer based the character Merida on her own feisty-daughter and it’s easy to see why so many mother/daughters are enjoying this holiday movie. An added bonus for me was the whimsical and beautiful trailer before Brave, La Luna.
I really enjoyed this charming short film.
David and I saw The Mousetrap, which is now touring as part of its 60th Diamond Anniversary year. I had been looking forward to seeing for ages. It’s my third viewing of this iconic play (I originally saw it in The West End). Although nothing can compare to the romance of seeing Agatha Christie’s play in London, the Sydney cast did a really terrific job. I was pleased they kept it in a very traditional style and didn’t camp it up too much. Although a couple of times the accents were a bit forced, I still felt as if I was really at Monkswell Manor.
From the eerie opening of the play where the child’s rhyme, ‘Three Blind Mice’ is sung to the shock denouement at the end where a lot of the audience gasped at the twist – to the actor requesting we keep the secret (and of course we all will) – I thought the spirit of Agatha Christie’s play (which she did not expect to run for a few months) was honoured.
It’s proof of how people love a good cosy mystery and Agatha is top of her game in this sly and haunting play. You can read about the horrible true story HERE that inspired Agatha Christie to write her dark and elegant play. Terence O’Neill and his brother, Dennis in 1945 were fostered out to a pair on a farm in Shropshire, England. The brothers were beaten and abused by the foster parents and sadly, Dennis died. Agatha followed the case which made headlines in the UK and helped to change laws to protect children and used the case for a short radio play, Three Blind Mice (which later became The Mousetrap). Terence O’Neill has since written his own book of the events, Someone To Love Us.
Enjoy your week and stay creative. xx
This was the most recent photo taken of our family when we were on our last wrting retreat in the mountains. We all look so happy but just as the colours lie in it it also didn’t truly capture the moment. Just before the photo was taken we were having one of those family bickering sessions: my husband turned my daughter upside down and the world became so amusing. Memories, dreams, time all can lie and quietly deceive with diluted colours. Far better to stay totally still and quiet as a mouse in the present than look too far behind and forward.
And here is a preview of my German cover for Poet’s Cottage which is being published in September by the wonderful Ullstein publshing house. There is no way I would not have liked this cover as it’s the wallpaper in my own writing shed which Ullstein cleverly tracked down for me. It is very exciting to see my Tasmanian murder mystery being published in another country. There are also audio books available as well. I’m so thrilled and happy with the German edition.
Thank you for visiting me Wishing you a thousand upside down moments. xx
Two months until my Talking Heads session at Newtown Library and there are now only 24 seats remaining. Thanks very much to all who have secured seats. If you are keen to come along please don’t dally – reserve your seat to avoid missing out. A group of my friends are organising a dinner in Newtown afterwards; if you’d like to join us please contact me either through my Blog or via Facebook or Twitter. We haven’t decided on the location yet but it will be near the library.
And the link again if you would like to reserve a seat is HERE.
I’ve been in bed all day and only managed to drag myself out to collect my daughter from school, walking the city streets filled with golden autumn leaves. I’ve ripped my shoulder on the computer and so had to rest after a night of pain. It was a good opportunity for me to listen to Jack Canfield’s Momentum talk which was very inspiring and motivating. We’re now halfway through the year and so a welcome moment of reflection today on what I want to achieve in the second half of 2012.
I spent years working in nursing homes and psych/geriatric units and I’ve always had a penchant for older people. I felt very close to the character of Birdie Pinkerton in her later years in Poet’s Cottage. You can learn so much from the elderly and that’s why I’m a big fan of the blog Advanced Style. Look look at the character, wisdom and beauty in this woman’s face.
You just know she would be the coolest person ever and have an amazing life. At the other end of the spectrum you have this beautiful image that I swiped from Glow
Just a few pretty images to go into the weekend with. Faces as individual and beautiful as the leaves in my street. ‘Where does your inspiration come from?’ A mother asked me at the school pick-up. I smiled because there isn’t a space, a leaf, a face from which I don’t receive some inspiration bounty.
There’s a storm brewing in Sydney. A heavy dark sky is pressing down as I write. I hope you have a beautiful and productive weekend, wherever you are. Thank you for visiting me. And look at Larry King’s beautiful purple braces.
Thank you to my friend Liz for supplying me with the link to Johnny being interviewed by Larry in his office. I do love a man in braces. xx
Some cheering news this week: Poet’s Cottage is now being reprinted – extremely gratifying to know it’s kicking its legs up out there. Thank you to all who have bought a copy, asked your bookseller to get in copies – or have been kind enough to drop me a line to say you enjoyed it. You are all appreciated so much every day.
Here’s my daughter on her way to NIDA for Drama on the weekend. She loves her fake furs and swiping my vintage bags to walk around the streets pretending she’s a big girl.
And the postman delivered two special letters this week. One from an English teacher from Oatlands District High who was delighted to see my book and bought a copy. She was lovely enough to enclose in her letter a photograph from when I was at school. The world seemed such a different place then. No computers, endless time and a million paths to decide upon.
The other beautifully wrapped gift is from Tasmanian artist Jacqueline Rodemann, who sent me the loveliest necklace and brooch from her fabulous Etsy store, Under the Shade of a Bonsai Tree which you can find HERE as a thank you for me sending a copy of Poet’s Cottage to her artist mother for Mother’s Day when the stores had run out. I feel I am wearing a very special blue rose part of Tasmania now.
Thank you very much to both ladies. It is heaven to receive gifts in the mail rather than bills. The penny in my rather blurred photograph is a 1940s penny I have near me in my writing shed. Anything that helps me to channel a different time period I’ll use.
And I am editing away on Currawong Manor as the air in my courtyard garden slowly grows chillier. This morning in the park, the mist clung over the wetlands.
It was a beautiful way to start the day. Just before dawn the angels are walking with swans.
I spent a day lost in the magical light of Norman Lindsay’s home at Springwood.
Can you beat a drystone wall? I grew up loving them and they still have the power to charm.
Wandering into the bush with notebook in hand, it’s easy to believe Norman’s statues are luring you into another world.
A smaller magic outside my writing shed where my David Austin Prince rose proudly displayed its first bloom.
The magical perfume so divine to savour. Hopefully a good omen for my current mystery novel.
We’ve just returned from a joyful week in the mountains.
I caught up with old friends over pots of tea and marshmallow hot chocolates. Filled a notebook with ideas and inspirations from the great muse the bush.
Walked for hours marvelling over the Autumn colours and inhaling the joyful scent of the bush soaked after heavy rain falls.
I finished the first draft of Currawong Manor and got ideas for at least seven more books. The bush is always generous to me with ideas…
No television, no internet just some excellent books and our imaginations.
And the mountain fairies were of course all welcome.
Hello, I am away for a week in my mountain bolt-hole to finish the first draft of my current mystery book.
I will be taking my laptop but there’s no internet access so anything urgent will have to wait until I return.
David will be staying at home so we will be writing in different towns.
Last night I saw The Best Exotic Hotel Marigold with Artschool Annie. Critics mightn’t have warmed to this one but I loved it as it reminded me so much of my time in India.
When I am old (and beautiful) I want to stay at the Best Exotic Hotel Marigold for the old and beautiful. A very charming movie with some great depth to the characters.
And for those who missed it, here is the file of my interview with Blanche Clark which ran in the Melbourne Sunday Herald.
I shall add that to my slowly getting there media section. I am very slow with updating my website, But as the character Sonny, says in The Best Exotic Hotel Marigold, ‘ everything will be alright in the end. And so if it’s not all right. It’s not the end.’ Enjoy your week. Keep creative. Thank you for visiting me. xx