And Now, the End is Near…

So, as all good things come to pass, my holiday reaches its conclusion. As I prepare for a return to the mundane tomorrow, I can reflect on the highlights of the past week. These have mostly been getting stuck into writing tasks that I wanted to complete, or at least progress a little further. And then there was the reading. This was a little disappointing since I found myself sucked into perusing the myriad of excellent blogs out there, waiting on tenterhooks for new posts to appear in the reader. Obviously this was also reading, but did not aid in the completion of the books that I had planned to get finished.

But I still have a few hours left to savour I suppose. How will I elect to spend these?

I need a big push today to try to finish off that scheduled reading. I am a bit of an obsessive planner about these things and if I don’t tick off all of the boxes, I end up getting stressed by it. I end up feeling guilty that I haven’t completed everything I planned to, putting myself under undue pressure. I should perhaps set myself less taxing objectives!

I also passed an enjoyable evening listening to Audrey Niffenegger speak. My short post on that can be seen here. Last night was spent taking part in a quiz in order to help raise money for my nieces’ nursery. It was entertaining, although sadly our team came in a miserable fourth. There was no round on literature or books that I would have hoped for. The science round was good for us, as I work in that field, but sport and celebrity dating rounds were poor.

And so from tomorrow I shall be mostly back to the usual schedule of work, study and reading. Maybe then I will be able to work on some more interesting posts. For everyone’s benefit, I certainly hope so!

Audrey Niffenegger Talk

Last night I attended a talk and book signing by Audrey Niffenegger for her new book ‘Raven Girl’. I had not attended one of these events before and so had no idea what to expect. The event was one of a number of similar events hosted by a local bookshop Toppings and Company Booksellers. I had purchased the book the day before and had read it, so I already knew the story which was handy. The talk was mostly about the process of creating the book and the fact that it was fairy tale designed to be made into a ballet. She has been collaborating on the project with the Royal Ballet in London and there will be performances later this month. A background to the creation of the story and of the book and the preparation of the aquatint prints was covered and then followed by a short reading of the opening few pages.

I think that I learned more about her creative process from the question and answer session at the end, although there was a significant bias towards the printing process for the art work, understandable I suppose given her training as an artist, and about the ballet. It was interesting to hear about different media in which the ‘Raven Girl’ story could be experienced, as a fairy tale, through the graphics in the book, as a ballet and more to come. It was also interesting to hear that the ballet was something in which she was involved in a truly collaborative sense, whereas she said that she had no involvement in the film of ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’. She even mentioned that she had not seen the film, although I am not sure if she was joking or not. Since the actors she mentioned were not the ones actually in the film I suspect she wasn’t.

Her views on creativity and the importance of being open to things and recognising opportunities for stories were revealing, as was the information that she is working on a screenplay for an Indie film version of ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’. The question responses also gave good insight into her methods of researching subjects, in particular Highgate cemetery for ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’.

All in all I had a great time, although I did not realise until the end the mistake I had made in sitting right at the back. I was originally very happy in my choice of location. I could see and hear extremely well. My error was only highlighted when I realised that the book signing was at the front of the church (the event was held in a church), and I was automatically right at the back of the queue. So I left without getting my copy of ‘Raven Girl’ signed. C’est la vie.

I definitely intend to go along to some future events like this, now that I know that they are being held in the area. All in all it was an enjoyable experience, although I would have preferred to have heard more about her novels, ‘The Time Travellers Wife’ and ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’, both of which I enjoyed reading.

Holiday Progress

So far on my holiday I have managed to get up early every day and get writing early. I have surprised myself and have actually managed to write every day and complete the schedule that I have set up for each day of my holiday. In addition, which is even more surprising, I have also left the house every day so far, for at least an hour. Normally I would spend the entire time reading or writing and probably only set foot outside of the house maybe twice during the course of a week’s holiday, mostly to get groceries.

I went into Ely this morning to pick up a copy of Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger. I will be seeing her speak tomorrow night and need to prepare. I neglected to pick up a copy when I collected the ticket and so had to make a special journey this morning, early, so as to avoid people as much as possible. I got the price of the ticket for the talk discounted from the cost of the book which was nice. I just need to read it before tomorrow evening now. I have just finished ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ so I should then be primed for the talk, having read everything of hers that I want to.

So far the holiday is going well. I have got plenty of writing done, some reading and now I am having to do a few chores such as mow the lawn. Still, I suppose they have to be done some time. I would rather be reading though. I should really get myself a t-shirt that says ‘I would rather be Reading’ on it. I wonder if they are available. Anyone seen one? I could get one printed if not.

I will update you on the Niffenegger talk before the end of the week hopefully. I am looking forward to it immensely.

Now I am off to finish, well start really, the chores. I suppose mowing the lawn in the sun won’t be all bad.

Holiday Reading

I have a week’s holiday planned for next week and I have been deciding what I want to read. I say read rather than do since I like to make maximum use of holiday time from work to catch up on my reading. In fact, as I did just today, I usually end up ordering a new batch of books from Amazon, despite the rather large piles already sitting about the house.

As many of you will know, I enjoy making use of reading lists. Although I also tend to read a lot of other things as well, I do like the satisfaction of completing a book list. Ticking each title off once it has been read is most enjoyable. I completed the BBC list of ‘100 books that everyone should read’, some time ago, and I moved on to another list, one I had long wanted to attempt. This was the Great Books list that I have discussed before. I have expanded the list of books out so that entries that are listed ‘The works of…’ are detailed more fully, providing me with the nice side effect of more boxes to tick. However I was shocked to see that, even without doing this for all authors, the list has expanded to at least 700 books. Some of them are not easy reads either. I think this may take the next decade or so, especially given my non list reading also.

I have also been putting off getting a ticket to see Audrey Niffenegger speak at Ely next week. I am not sure why I have been putting it off. I will get a ticket soon no doubt. It will be nice to have a cultured evening out, one that doesn’t involve the consumption of alcohol and/or curry!

I also hope to get a decent amount of writing done on my holiday, making a start on my new Writers Bureau course.

I should finally finish Sophocles tonight too. That’s another seven entries off the list.

Another Night Out and Topping and Company Booksellers

I had another night out last night with a friend from work. Just down to the local for a few beers and a good chat. I had a fun time and managed to unwind after a hectic week at work. As I noticed, and posted about last time that I went out for beers, the mild hangover that I had this morning seemed to lead to some very free flowing writing. I am beginning to think that I may need to investigate this phenomenon further, including running extensive field studies naturally!

On another note, I received an email newsletter which I subscribe to, from a local bookshop a couple of days ago. The bookshop is called Topping and Company Booksellers. I have never actually visited this shop, to my shame, as it is only about twelve miles away. They appear to have branches in Bath and also one in Ely, which is the one that I live closest to. Anyway, this bookshop run a series of book events year round and the newsletter was highlighting the Spring events. There were a couple of authors featured that will be coming to speak that I am interested in seeing. These are Audrey Niffenegger and Margaret Atwood.  I do not know a great deal about either author, although I have read ‘The Time Travellers Wife’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, so I thought that these would be interesting events to attend. Hopefully I can read a few more of their works before the events.