Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Seren and the New Mabinogion

Seren have commissioned a series of books from Welsh writers, the first two being White Ravens by Owen Sheers and The Ninth Wave by Russell Celyn Jones. I'm elated, obsessed with the Mabinogion as I am, but also frustrated.

Seren should have commissioned me to write my version of Blodeuwedd. It's contemporary, gay, urban; everything Welsh Publishing houses seem to like at the moment. I've got any amount of short stories, poems, experimental fiction and plays - all of which I've been told are too experimental, too urban to be published. No one wants to take risks. The one lead I have is an editor said he wanted to read a novel based on Geraint and Nathalie, after reading a few short stories about them. They are my favourite characters to write about; I've been writing about them for so long that they wrote their own stories now, it's like I just write down the exploits of two friends that I'm growing older with. Great though they are, and fun as they are to write - they are the stories most rooted in the real world. I wish it was the 50s and I was a beat writer. I wish the editor had asked to read about Nathalie and Geraint living in Antiville, my bleak near-future Welsh city. I wish I had more time to write the Geraint novel, or that someone would publish a collection of stories if I promised to write the Geraint novel afterwards. Get me and my angst. It's like being fifteen again.
I read contemporary fiction, and a lot of it frustrates and depresses me. How the hell did that get published? And conversely, why did no one buy this book?

I'm setting myself some deadlines. I want to write the Geraint novel by end of March 2010. Parthian are calling for submissions. I need a binding contract, something spiritual I can use. I will write my testament and seal it inside a beloved book and only open it when I have finished writing my novel. Which book to use?

Off at a tangent again. I love the idea of a New Mabinogion, I absolutely love it - but I am worried that the Blodeuwedd story will be ruined. It won't be as good as mine.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Nadolig Llawen

It's that time of year, my Christmas EP is being released today 6th December. I'm having a mediaeval yuletide this year - game pie, pheasant, cranberry and apple chutney, homemade presents (mostly knitted, sewn or carved from wood) and I have orange and clove pomanders drying on the radiator in my bedroom. It started off as being homemade out of neccessity, I'm skint this year, but it's grown and kind of consumed me since July! I'm all about the mediaeval Christmas this year, oranges, cinnamon and cloves all the way.

This mediaevality (no such word, I know) informed this year's EP. I make an EP as a Christmas card every year, and it usually has at least one 16th century melody on it, along with some Nintendo samples - but this time I just used tunes and words from the 1400s to the 1700s. I'm pleased with how it's turned out, but it's way more melancholy than typically Christmas songs are.

It's free to download, just click on the picture. Hope you like it.

Nadiolig Llawen x

The Adventures of Miss Flitt

I've just stumbled on an absolutely fantastic thing, The Adventures of Miss Flitt. It's an illustrated book of knitting patterns mixed with an amazing-sounding story.

From the website "The Adventures of Miss Flitt: The Strange Case of the Magician's Cabinet, an illustrated, 19th century mystery with knitting patterns by Beth Hahn, follows Emma Flitt into a Victorian New York filled with magicians, clairvoyants, charlatans, and pick pockets to unravel the mysterious disappearance of her sister Lucy. Told over the course of four installments, the debut issue features knitting patterns that emphasize the use of experimentation and creativity. While the intermediate knitter can follow clearly written instructions and charts, he or she is also encouraged to personalize each item by choosing from different yarns, edges, sleeve types, and sweater lengths."

It's such a fantastic idea, incorporating loads of things I love - knitting, magic and mystery, fiction, illustration... it's just such a lovely idea! I'd like to make my own one day, but finding the time is getting more an more difficult the more projects I start. I have it stored though, one day I'll make one. Maybe I could start off with an easy one: four patterns and a short story... hmm... braincogs whirring...

The pictures are just lovely as well.


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