The Recording Angel

Not the most obvious name to spring to mind when mentioning great British artists, yet G F Watts is the man behind many beautifully engaging and recognisable works, and though less than a household name today he has apparently been called ‘England’s Michelangelo’. If the name of George Frederick Watts isn’t instantly recognisable I think thisContinue reading “The Recording Angel”

Writers’ corner: How long will it take?

How do you make a genius? In his book Outliers: The Story of Success Malcolm Gladwell suggested that talent isn’t the decider but how many hours of practice you’re prepared to put into your chosen subject. In the above visualisation of Gladwell’s 10,000 hour principle the work of Bill Gates and The Beatles are used asContinue reading “Writers’ corner: How long will it take?”

My Neighbour Totoro

My Neighbour Totoro is yet another unique and mesmerizing film from Studio Ghibli, which follows the adventures of two sisters who discover friendly wood spirits around their new house and garden in rural Japan. The artwork is delectable and the pace of the movie captures the spirit of those endless sunny days of childhood, whenContinue reading “My Neighbour Totoro”

Seven Awards!!

The awards are piling up 🙂 I’ve recently received seven awards (!!) and have saved them up for today: The Best Moment Award from chandanimane , The Super Sweet Award from Pallaksharma, the Liebster Award from franny stevenson, the Wonderful Team Membership Award from Ajay, the Sunshine Award from Kavita Joshi, and the Dragon’s Loyalty Award and Shine on Award from Melissa Janda!Continue reading “Seven Awards!!”

The Velvet Gentleman

Today’s post not only features the work of one of my favourite people but, given my extremely high estimation of today’s inspirational person, I want to attempt something of a tribute. The greatest danger with tributes is that the writer is likely to fall into the trap of endless superlatives and long-winded, prattling fan-talk, soContinue reading “The Velvet Gentleman”

Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke

“You ask whether your verses are good. You ask me. You have asked others before. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are disturbed when certain editors reject your efforts. Now (since you have allowed me to advise you ) I beg you to give up all that. YouContinue reading “Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke”

Underwater Sculptures

Recently I found a truly amazing picture of this underwater statue, Christ of the Abyss, at the wonderful hauntedshoreline. So I went investigating and found more pictures of underwater statues that have been placed in various sites around the world. These statues were completely new to me and creepily cool, I think. Christ of theContinue reading “Underwater Sculptures”

Super Sweet Award

Oh, my goodness, it’s award time again! This time the delectable Super Sweet Award! I have two sweet bloggers to thank for my award: That absolute honey – Melissa Janda! & The ever delicious – Christina Jones! They are both very talented writers and super sweet bloggers and they both really know how to makeContinue reading “Super Sweet Award”

The Young May Moon

The Young May Moon by Thomas Moore The young May moon is beaming, love. The glow-worm’s lamp is gleaming, love. How sweet to rove, Through Morna’s grove, When the drowsy world is dreaming, love! Then awake! — the heavens look bright, my dear, ‘Tis never too late for delight, my dear, And the best of allContinue reading “The Young May Moon”

Another Sunshine Award and the Best Moment Award :-D

My head is reeling! In the same week that I was nominated for a sunshine award I find I’ve been nominated for another two awards!!!!!! The Sunshine Award presented to me by the piggielicious PigLove and the Best Moment Award which I’m choosing from the lovely Ajay‘s Bouquet of 3 Awards. In the words of AntonContinue reading “Another Sunshine Award and the Best Moment Award :-D”

E.E. Cummings – anyone lived in a pretty how town

Hear E.E. Cummings read his famous poem “anyone lived in a pretty how town”. anyone lived in a pretty how town (with up so floating many bells down) spring summer autumn winter he sang his didn’t he danced his did. Women and men(both little and small) cared for anyone not at all they sowed theirContinue reading “E.E. Cummings – anyone lived in a pretty how town”

Glam! The Performance of Style – Tate Liverpool: Exhibition 8 February – 12 May 2013

If you’re going to be anywhere near Liverpool tomorrow (or any time up until May 12th)  you might like to take a look at this exhibition at the Tate Liverpool. The blurb sounds interesting enough; “Bringing together more than 100 artworks the exhibition will reveal the genealogy of glam. Themes of glamour, camp, exaggerated identity,Continue reading “Glam! The Performance of Style – Tate Liverpool: Exhibition 8 February – 12 May 2013”

The Power of Porridge – or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love New Foods.

I’ve recently discovered something new. For lots of you out there it won’t be new at all but for me it’s a discovery that has taken me by surprise. I like porridge. Not just, “yeah, it’s alright” but “hmm, running low on porridge, better get some shopping in”. Now obviously, this hardly sounds like momentousContinue reading “The Power of Porridge – or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love New Foods.”

The Sunshine Award

Ok, I’m gonna gush and I’m gonna wear out my exclamation key!!!!!!!!! I got an award today, my second one, the lovely happy, sunshiney Sunshine Award!!! I woke this morning to find a message from the ever wonderful and very entertaining Melissa Janda telling me I had an award and my heart leaped! Now I canContinue reading “The Sunshine Award”

The genius and marvel of George Bernard Shaw

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. People who say it cannot be done shouldContinue reading “The genius and marvel of George Bernard Shaw”

100 fabulous, talented, awe-inspiring readers. Yay!

Thanks to pflead73 at Afterburn!! A big thank-you though to everybody who decided to click that follow button, you are all decidedly awesome – and hopefully you know it! I have been so inspired, amazed and cheered by your support, and am regularly bowled over by the care and understanding I’ve seen in this wonderful blogging community. ItContinue reading “100 fabulous, talented, awe-inspiring readers. Yay!”

The Sisters (1900) Ralph Peacock

  Ralph Peacock – Portrait and landscape painter. Born 14 August 1868 in London. Entered the R.A. Schools, where he won a gold medal and the Creswick Prize, 1887. Exhibited at the R.A. from 1888. Won a gold medal at Vienna 1898 and a bronze medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition 1900. Died in London 17Continue reading “The Sisters (1900) Ralph Peacock”

Writing prompts to set you fizzling and end that writer’s block

While the debate over whether writer’s block actually exists or not continues, the subject of where ideas come from remains of interest to many writers (as a glance through the inspirational writers’ section of any book-store will show). I always think that, when you’re writing stories you are essentially accessing the body of experience that is outContinue reading “Writing prompts to set you fizzling and end that writer’s block”

The Debutante by Leonora Carrington

The Debutante by Leonora Carrington When I was a debutante I often used to go to the Zoological Gardens. I’d go there so often I knew the animals better than the young ladies of my own age. It was in fact to get away from people that I found myself every day at the Zoo. The animalContinue reading “The Debutante by Leonora Carrington”

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

Fern Hill by DYLAN THOMAS Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,        The night above the dingle starry,                Time let me hail and climb        Golden in the heydays of his eyes, And honoured among wagons I was prince ofContinue reading “Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas”

Dear Wit: Letters from the World’s Wits

Dear Sir: I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, cracklyContinue reading “Dear Wit: Letters from the World’s Wits”

Balbus was assisting his mother-in-law to convince the dragon

  “Balbus was assisting his mother-in-law to convince the dragon” by A. B. Frost. This illustration comes from Eligible Apartments, the second of Lewis Carroll’s ‘knots’ (mathematical problems which apparently much keener brains than mine consider fun to unravel). These knots (or short stories) form a larger piece entitled A Tangled Tale  which was published serially between April 1880Continue reading “Balbus was assisting his mother-in-law to convince the dragon”

Walden – Henry David Thoreau

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe willContinue reading “Walden – Henry David Thoreau”

Writers’ corner: Ernest Hemingway

6 writing tips from the big man that can really help you get started and keep going. 1)    To get started, write one true sentence. “Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the littleContinue reading “Writers’ corner: Ernest Hemingway”

Dora Maar – artist and muse.

A small selection of some of Dora Maar’s photographic art.     Maar is these-days best remembered as Picasso’s lover and muse, and as the subject for his painting  Dora Maar au Chat which sold at Sotheby’s for $95 million in 2006, but Maar was an artist in her own right before she met Picasso. She was introducedContinue reading “Dora Maar – artist and muse.”

Monty Python’s Argument Sketch

This is definitely a Marmite thing (you either love it or you hate it, for those unfamiliar). I adore Monty Python but I know for some others it’s a real fingernails-down-the-blackboard experience. This is one of my favourite sketches, which I thought I’d share today after noticing a python theme going on with two ofContinue reading “Monty Python’s Argument Sketch”

Maeve Binchy on what makes a page turner

Page-turn·er  n. Informal – A very interesting, exciting, or suspenseful book, usually a novel. Today, in our writers corner is a short video clip of Maeve Binchy speaking about characterization and what makes a page turning story. I think Maeve picks up on some important points here in a nicely succinct and encouraging way. Pace is, of course,Continue reading “Maeve Binchy on what makes a page turner”

Want to get a novel published? Write short stories.

Today I’d like to focus of helping you with your writing goal of getting published, and how you can increase your chances. If you are looking to become a novelist, short stories could be a good way to begin. I can’t find the statistics, but I read once that the number of authors who hadContinue reading “Want to get a novel published? Write short stories.”

Max Ernst & Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy The Virgin Punishing the Infant after the painting by Max Ernst He spoke early. Not the goo goo goo of infancy, but I am God. Joseph kept away, carving himself a silent Pinocchio out in the workshed. He said he was a simple man and hadn’t dreamed of this. She grew anxiousContinue reading “Max Ernst & Carol Ann Duffy”

Fear and the Writer

Writing can be scary. It can terrify the writer into complete inaction. It is scary because we are investing so much into it; our time and energy, our hopes, our ego. There is so much that can go wrong, not just with the writing itself, but the countless other things that we sometimes feel areContinue reading “Fear and the Writer”

The Gleaners – Jean-François Millet & Economy – Henry David Thoreau

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements ofContinue reading “The Gleaners – Jean-François Millet & Economy – Henry David Thoreau”

Children’s classic fiction – the favourites, part 2

Following on from my previous post on my favourite classic children’s authors, here’s part 2. Last time I looked at E. Nesbit, Philippa Pearce, Catherine Storr, L.M. Montgomery and Lucy M. Boston, and here to round it off are my final five with my favourite of their books. Mary Norton – The Borrowers. Chances are,Continue reading “Children’s classic fiction – the favourites, part 2”

Bonjour Tristesse and the ever shrinking author

Bonjour Tristesse (that’s “Hello Sadness”) was published in 1954, when the author was only 18. “I dreamt of being a writer once I started to read. I started to write ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ in bistros around the Sorbonne. I finished it, I sent it to editors. It was accepted.” Isn’t that delightfully bohemian? If this were notContinue reading “Bonjour Tristesse and the ever shrinking author”

No good fish goes anywhere without a porpoise.

Today, I wanted to post a selection of Alices as dreamed up by various illustrators. Some are familiar, some I’d never seen before, but all are decidedly lovely. Famous for its ‘nonsense’ play on words and the shifting, dream-like plot Alice has become a classic, inspiring numerous films, live productions and even comic book adaptations.Continue reading “No good fish goes anywhere without a porpoise.”

Children’s classic fiction – the favourites, part 1

Today, in light of my recent post on the Vintage Children’s Reading Challenge, I want to do a whistle-stop tour of some of my favourite classic books and their authors. Just thinking back to these wonderful childhood reads got me all misty-eyed and nostalgic. Some of these books might be new to you but someContinue reading “Children’s classic fiction – the favourites, part 1”