August – Dorothy Parker and Charles Courtney Curran

Charles Courtney Curran – Lotus Lilies 1888 August When my eyes are weeds, And my lips are petals, spinning Down the wind that has beginning Where the crumpled beeches start In a fringe of salty reeds; When my arms are elder-bushes, And the rangy lilac pushes Upward, upward through my heart; Summer, do your worst!Continue reading “August – Dorothy Parker and Charles Courtney Curran”

The World of Dr Seuss

  This slideshow features some gorgeous art from the hugely talented and, in my opinion, little appreciated Dr Seuss. Really, I know his work is still in demand and all but how often do we pause to think of him as the gifted and surprising artist he was? I always adored his books and theContinue reading “The World of Dr Seuss”

Advice for the writer – Thomas More

Advice for the indie writer can be found in the most surprising places sometimes. This extract, from More’s Utopia, is amazingly fresh and relevant considering it was written around 500 years ago. “But to tell the truth, I’m still of two minds as to whether I should publish the book or not. For men’s tastesContinue reading “Advice for the writer – Thomas More”

Daft dogs…and daft owners

Brought to you courtesy of Jill of All Trades over at  http://expertofnone.com/ And here’s Lucy! Her daft owners put the scarf on her but the sock in her mouth is all her own doing (gun dogs like the feel of something in their mouths apparently – which explains why she loves meal times so much IContinue reading “Daft dogs…and daft owners”

Happy Birthday Chris Van Allsburg!

Happy Birthday to Chris Van Allsburg who was born on this day in 1949. Chris is an American author and illustrator of children’s books including Jumanji and The Polar Express, both of which won him the Caldecott Medal, and Zathura. “His books often depict fantastic, uncontrolled events and utilize sometimes brutal irony. Van Allsburg breaks out of theContinue reading “Happy Birthday Chris Van Allsburg!”

The Essential Rumi – Like This

Listen to this delectable recording of Tilda Swinton reading Like This (and try to forget that it is in order to celebrate the launch of a perfume…) Related articles I swear ~ Rumi (rubyrenshaw.wordpress.com) Ten Life Changing Tips by Rumi (rubyrenshaw.wordpress.com) The brilliance of Rumi (sajithansar.com)  

Boum! Charles Trenet

I so enjoyed my last post on Le Rayol, France and the French Riviera that I’ve not been able to get this song out of my head since. I’ve tried to find a translation for it and this was the best I could come up with, though any suggestions would be welcome. The clock goesContinue reading “Boum! Charles Trenet”

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”

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”

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 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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

World Poetry Day

In 1999 UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) declared March 21 to be World Poetry Day, a day now celebrated in hundreds of countries around the world, most especially in classrooms where children are encouraged to take an interest in the form. All too often there are complaints that no-one reads poetry anyContinue reading “World Poetry Day”

Thought of the Day

“It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up.” W. Somerset Maugham “Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.” Oscar Wilde How do you deal with mornings? Find it easy to get up or are you throwing on your clothes as you gulp down a coffee in a desperate attemptContinue reading “Thought of the Day”

Parce Domine by Adolphe Willette

  Have been meaning to post this beautiful picture by Adolphe Willette (30 July 1857– 4 February 1926), a French painter, illustrator, caricaturist, and lithographer, which I found at http://steelthistles.blogspot.co.uk/ Isn’t it divine? It’s a Parisian scene (notice the Montmartre windmill) depicting what looks to be a wild game of follow-the-leader. The picture is on display at the Musee de Montmartre if you’re lucky enough toContinue reading “Parce Domine by Adolphe Willette”

Tove Jansson

In terms of embarrassing confessions how does the fact that I completely missed Tove Jansson as a child rate? Pretty highly I would think, a bit like saying that you never ate a rusk before or never painted a finger-painting, but there you are. I came across a BBC programme about her a short while ago and apart fromContinue reading “Tove Jansson”