When I was young and innocent

Queen Guenevere illustrationBack when I was nineteen years old and steeped up to my innocent ingenue ears in The Matter of Britain, I wrote a novel about Queen Guenevere.

A publisher who was considering it sent it to South Africa’s pre-eminent novelist for comment. He started his report thusly:
“This is an impressive piece of writing, especially if it is taken into account that it was written by a 19-year-old. I have no doubt that this young woman will be a major writer one day.”
You heard the but coming, didn’t you?…
Read the whole story at the Book View Cafe HERE


Passing over the Rainbow Bridge

Just found out today that a friend I knew as Cat but had never met in real life has died.
For over twenty years, Vickie Barcomb was and always will remain this wonderful, wise, larger-than-life Internet friend whom I loved. For a reason. Usually the first question asked over one of our phone calls was “How many cats do you have now?” And it was always answered by a laconic, “Oh, I’m down to about 40.”
Forty cats and kittens rescued and fostered under the umbrella of her organization, Kittens, Inc. – some of them very young, some of them severely special-needs,
all of them loved and cared for by this great-hearted woman who knew everything there was to know about things feline and who was my go-to source of advice when megrims threatened my beloved fur family.
I’ll never have that again – those conversations over the phone, usually punctuated by random crashes in the background and “HEY! GET OFF THAT!” addressed to the cats in her vicinity.
She had one cat, Ivy, who would ‘talk’ to me on the phone. Cat would put the receiver next to Ivy and I would ask how are you feeling today. “Mmmrrrow?” – and how was the weather? – “Mmroweoweow. Meow.” – Oh, I see, too hot, was it? – “MEOW. meowowowow.” And then Cat herself would take back the phone and we’d just carry on where we had stopped.
Cat was always phoning me from her cell phone while negotiating traffic. “Hang on a sec, there’s a moron in front of me who has no clue what he’s doing. TURN, YOU IDIOT! Okay, where were we?”
She was also one of the most, um, breakable people I knew. The other common theme of those phone calls was “What have you broken lately?” There was always something. A finger. A hand. A hip. But she was always up and at it anyway, typing with a broken hand, crawling around with a leg in a cast to clean cat boxes. Never give up, never surrender.
She was always full of awful jokes, but her full-throated laugh made even the worst of them hilarious. And we laughed together a lot.
DAMN. I am going to miss this friend whose face I never saw with my own physical eyes, whose hand I never shook, whose voice I never heard other than through the telephone. She was always geographically distant from me – but she was a kind of a soul sister. And I will miss her.
Rest in light, Cat. And I just KNOW that you were smothered with love and wet kisses at the far end of the Rainbow Bridge. And only the BEST people are.

Author buries latest manuscript for a hundred years

David Mitchell photoDavid Mitchell ‘Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian
At The Guardian, Alison Flood reports that the author of Cloud Atlas has delivered his new work to Oslo’s Nordmarka forest as part of the Future Library project.
David Mitchell is used to his novels being picked over by the critics, so it’s something of a relief, he says, that his latest work won’t be seen by anyone until 2114.
Mitchell is the second contributor to the Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s Future Library project, for which 1,000 trees were planted two years ago in Oslo’s Nordmarka forest. Each year for the next 100 years an author will deliver a piece of writing which will only be read in 2114, when the trees are chopped down to make paper on which the 100 texts will be printed.
The Future Library Project offers “hope that we will be here, that there will be trees, that there will be books, and readers, and civilization.”
Read more at The Guardian

Did you hear how the sandwich was invented?

Since the first cave paintings thousands of years ago, telling stories has been one of our most fundamental communication methods, Leo Widrich says at Life Hacker, because it is the most powerful way to activate our brains.
What does this mean? Well gather around while he tells you a story.
Read more at Life Hack HERE

Mortifification! Reading from your adolescent diaries on stage

At KQED News, Linda Flanagan tells us that when Georgia Gootee examines the journals she wrote as a 15-year-old, she sympathizes with her younger flailing self.
“You can read through these journals and tell that at some points I’m just so terrified that it’ll never come together, I’ll never find my place in the world, I’ll never feel loved or love anyone myself.”
Now 26, Gootee can chuckle at the overwrought nature of her youthful preoccupations. “It’s a weird duality,” she said.
She read excerpts from her teenage journal at a Mortified performance in Portland last year. Mortified shows, as they’re called, feature adults reading aloud and on stage from their adolescent diaries.
Read more at KQED News HERE
Quote of the Day
Noun Or Verb posterI knew what I was before I could hold a crayon in my hand. How about you?
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