Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Worthwhile books, ducks and the mysteries of Twitter

What a bright and Haydn-y morning today. Just to start us off, here’s today’s meditation:

Meditation 127

The dead
do not need
your blood
or the scatterings
of your skin.

Ask instead
where the life is
and follow it.

Thinking of poems, I’m pleased to say that Pens on Fire webzine will be publishing two of my meditation poems in July, hurrah! Naturally enough, the universe hates imbalance so at the same time a piece of flash fiction has been rejected (sigh – the idjits …), so I’ll try to turn that round and get it back out of the virtual door soonest. But the really good literary news for today is that the coffee-table book of photographs and poems/stories in support of The Alzheimer’s Society is now available, and includes one of my own haikus attached to a gorgeous photograph of water. The official press release is as below:

“Photographer Katherine Elizabeth Lewis has collaborated with author Nik Perring and 18 other writers to produce a beautiful limited edition book to raise money for the East Cheshire Branch of the Alzheimer’s Society – and it was put together, from start to finish, in just four weeks! The high quality book features 20 of Katherine’s photographs along with 20 stories, poems and haiku inspired by them. These stories and poems have come from a terrific mix of contributors; you’ll find work from local writers alongside more established ones, including three former Cheshire poet laureates, short story writer Tania Hershman (who received a special mention in this year’s Orange Prize), best-selling novelist Caroline Smailes, and award winning short story writer Vanessa Gebbie. The book is priced at £14 and is available from the photographer and from Nik Perring. And every penny of profit it makes will be donated to the East Cheshire Branch of The Alzheimer’s Society, who support people with any type of dementia, their carers and families. If you have or care for someone with memory problems please get in touch with your local branch, who can be found by clicking here.”

I do feel this is a very worthwhile cause and the book itself is a classy production with some marvellous little vignettes, so worth every penny. Thanks for putting this together, Nik & Katherine, and it’s a pleasure to be included in it indeed.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, I’ve been tweeting the initial extract of Maloney’s Law for a good few weeks now, to which the response has been … um … none. Ah well. Now that Painting from Life is available in paperback and eBook, I’ll start tweeting that instead. It’s so hard to know whether this sort of marketing attempt is worth it or not – probably not, on balance, but hey at least it gives me something to put in that empty slot on the Twitter board.

Meanwhile at work, we’re trying to sort out agendas for a raft of upcoming meetings but the goalposts keep changing. The moment we think we’ve got them sorted, something else comes up. By the time we get there, my agendas will be so long they could probably wallpaper the meeting rooms, sigh.

Oh but we’re all greatly cheered in the office today by this item of charming news about a man in the States saving a brood of ducklings. You absolutely must watch the video – it’s fabulous! Joel Armstrong, Duck-Man Extraordinare, is definitely my Hero of the Month. In fact I was so moved that I wrote a tanka (Japanese-style verse with 31 syllables divided into lines of 5/7/5/7/7 – and yes I did have to look it up too) about them. I quite like tankas. So much so that I then wrote another one about a moorhen (it’s obviously a day with a strong bird focus …). Might even try to write more of them as and when (though I suspect that’s the limit for today) – there’s certainly extra room to breathe compared to a haiku, that’s for sure.

Tonight, I shall pop into see Gladys on the way home, and then I’m planning to watch the poetry programme on television tonight. Even though it has Simon Armitage in it, and really I can’t stand his stuff. Hopefully there won’t be much of it (bitch, bitch ...).

And I’ve very much enjoyed Kate Williams’ biography of Emma Hamilton, entitled England’s Mistress. It’s lively, fascinating and well worth the read. I loved Williams’ very human writing style and she paints an in-depth picture of the woman and the age she lived in. Emma’s like a historical version of Posh, but with a barrel-load of wit and compassion. Great stuff.

In the meantime, if you haven't already donated to my attempt to raise money for Cancer Research, the link is here. And many thanks indeed to those who've already given. Not long now till the race on 6 June!!

Today’s nice things:

1. Poetry, of all shapes and sizes
2. The Alzheimer’s coffee-table book
3. The duck-man
4. Poetry on TV
5. Books.

Anne Brooke - something of a charity case herself
Cancer Research Race for Life - please give generously!


Jilly said...

I love ducks and this story is just brilliant!
On the bird front I got heckled by 4 large geese when I was waiting for the bus yesterday morning - I was quite relieved when they decided to depart!

Anne Brooke said...

I know - isn't it great! Know what you mean about geese though - I'm always wary of them ...



Ian D Smith said...

I love ducks. I saw a pair this morning trying to cross the A350 at the same time as a hue and cry was developing over, I quote: "A senior Tory MP was sacked by David Cameron last night after it was alleged he tried to claim £1,645 on his expenses for a “duck island’’ for his pond." A duck island sounds like a great idea. Knight that man immediately.

Anne Brooke said...

I know!! My husband told me about duck island last night - make that man PM - at once!! You can't go wrong with a duck-lover.