Posts

Showing posts from July, 2015

Embroidery: In the Fields

Image
One of my favourite method of decorating cloth is to take a scrap, a piece of sheeting in this case, clamp it in a little embroidery hoop and superimposing a design onto it. I start by accentuating parts of the background and then fill the resultant shapes with stitches and objects suggested by the enclosures.

In this piece, the new-way-of-seeing began with the three flower shapes in the bottom right quadrant. After I'd outlined them they resembled trees. Next, a web of chain-stitched fencing outlined the overview of a farm, which variously filled became fields of different crops.

Editing: Keeping the Subsequent Drafts Apart in my Mind

Image
One frustrating thing about rewriting a novel of some length is trying to remember the version in hand. A bit like looking at ten layers of graffiti and wondering which you liked best.

When the particular book has been on the boil for a while, say five or six years, and the older versions have worn a groove in your brain, the draft in hand can be difficult to keep in the forefront of your awareness. 
At least I'm assuming some of you have the same problem. The beauty of the internet, there is always someone with similar problems. 
Hence I have again begun printing my newest draft out as I go. A couple of pages at the time, after each session. This after a few years managing everything on the computer. I find I've got too much history now with Monster-Moored to be able to recall just the latest words I wrote. This is especially the case where I'm making big changes. The older more familiar decisions keep popping up, like palimpsest ghosts, and confusing the new story no en…

Editing: The Importance of Names

Image
I admit to resisting changing names of characters late into the piece, but when two beta readers confuse a character's gender because the male character's name resembles a female name, I thought I'd better do something about it.

Apparently English speakers may read 'Polk' as 'Polly'. The ones that did then totally glossed all the masculine pronouns meaning that they discovered the gender swap pages later.

So, I spent the morning reading my favourite name book. I decided I need to get a Scandinavian dictionary because I came to no inspiring conclusions. Changed 'Polk' to 'Poul' in the end, the Swedish version of 'Paul'. But I don't like it. It looks to me like an abbreviation of 'poultry'.

I try to have different initials for every name to cut down on confusion. All the other Scandinavian names the book came up with had initials already in use. And dammit, I'm only going to change that one name!

Fungi in Fiction: Raising the Stones (1988)

Image
Book Review: Raising the Stones by Sheri S Tepper (1988)
The first couple of times I read this speculative fiction novel, I totally missed the first clues pointing toward its fungi related theme. The title, Raising the Stones, comes from a poem by George Seferis, Mycenae. Twenty years ago, I thought it to refer to some once-upon-a-time Greek islands ruined by volcanic action. As a consequence of missing the word play, I could never reconcile the title with the content.
At that time, several other important themes kept me reading. Godless then and now, I’ve nevertheless always been interested in the way in which gods seem to arise out of the natural world. Tepper’s treatise on the animistic religions of the past, I read this as. So much so, that I always thought the book could easily have been titled The Hobb’s Land God.
There’s more to it though, with a feminist plot in which the Hobb’s Land matriarchal society is pitted against a fiercely patriarchal society shouting ‘Ire, Iron and…

Re-purposing Embroideries

Image
The usual troubles getting the scanner working today ... frustration, frustration! This time it was that the printer needed a new ink cartridge ... that's an almost unethical strategy to get people to buy more expensive ink. Because of course it always happens when sending away for the inks takes one or two weeks and the scanning job is needed now.

I may get a standalone scanner. After I have finished the inks. There have got to be some sustainable models around.

Anyway, as well as the must-do scanning job, I digitalised a bunch of embroideries I did a few years ago, before I began writing in earnest ... with the idea of having some post cards made of some of them, and me printing them out for greeting cards with others.