Monthly Archives: March 2014

My Writing Journey

This week I have written a lot. I’ve edited chapters, expanded them, re-wrote part of them, and fell in love with my characters all over again. I am three quarters of the way through the novel now and with five days at a holiday house near the bay in Melbourne where I live I should be able to write every day.  Of course the first draft chapters have been edited several times so the last edit will be relatively quick, well it will be months and not years.

Literary Tip 

Anthony Burgess once said not to spend your ideas too freely. To me it sounds like good advice, the mystery that overlays your ideas disappears the more you talk about them. When you have your ideas and sit down to write, all the little sidetracks that you have discussed with fellow writers or friends and family no longer seem as interesting as they once were.  My advice is to keep your ideas to yourself.

From  The Road of a Naturalist, Donald Culross Peattie, a favourite book from my bookshelf.

‘My mother had lived in the West during the last Indian war in history: she had gone, as a reporter, into the prison tent of Sitting Bull, old Tatanka Yotanka himself, conqueror of General Custer. She was born in what she called “Middle Michigan,” and in her later years she drew this origin snugly round her with a laugh that mocked her own elderly cosiness. But in her youth, of which I was a late last child, there was about her the greatness of the West. It threaded her voice still, as she sat telling me, the firelight giving a glint to her eyes and the opal ring on her hand and the toe of her slipper so small for her vigorous step. Acoma. The Alamo. Cody, and Cripple Creek. Gila and “Cibola” and Virginia City. Names like old trumpets that you can still pick up to blow two ghostly notes upon them. Glory names, that hurt my heart.’

He wrote about his young mother when she was a young reporter:

‘She would go, on her own, three hundred miles to straighten out a tangled life, find a strayed husband, extricate an overworked girl, kidnapped once, a child covered in welts. Those were the days when she sold everything she wrote, and what she wrote of then was bounded by a fierce dusty, lonely horizon.’

Mrs Culross Peattie was an inspirational woman.

I haven’t read this book for many years but it is one I will take away with me this week and re-read.

 

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Believe in Angels then return the Favour

I loved this story and while I believe the sentiment is true (even though the story itself is a work of fiction that has been adapted and circulated as a real life story), however I can only pass it on by crediting the original author Elizabeth Silance Ballard.http://urbanlegends.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.pattishomepage.com/read/teddy.htm

Touching story.

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around.."

His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper That he got from a grocery bag Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets.."

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling* her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for* believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."

(For you that don't know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

Warm someone's heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone's life today? tomorrow? Just "do it".

Random acts of kindness, I think they call it?

"Believe in Angels, then return the favor."

Touching story.
As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… he is a joy to be around..”

His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper That he got from a grocery bag Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets..”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling* her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer…. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for* believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

(For you that don’t know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

Warm someone’s heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone’s life today? tomorrow? Just “do it”.

Random acts of kindness, I think they call it?
“Believe in Angels, then return the favor.”

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March 14, 2014 · 8:03 am

Shakespeare and Company

The most wonderful bookstore in the world!

Shakespeare & Company

March 2014Events at a Glance Wednesday 5th March 3pm
Children’s Hour with Kate StablesWednesday 5th March 7pm
Philosophers in the LibraryThursday 6th March 8pm
Book signing with Dave EggersMonday 10th March 7pm
Andrew Hussey on The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and its ArabsMonday 17th March 7pm
A celebration of Charles BukowskiFriday 21st March 7pm
The Fag Ash MonologuesSunday 23rd March 7pm
Hanif Kureishi on The Last WordMonday 31st March 7pm
Naomi Wood on Mrs. HemingwayEarly suggestions of spring in Paris are always magical. And these past few weeks we’ve had blue skies, pink evenings, and a warmth in the air which reminds us of sitting in parks with picnics of oysters andwhite wine. Tulips and daffodils are blooming all over the city and, on the banks of the Seine and the Canal Saint-Martin, the waterside crowds are slowly returning.Maybe the changing season is putting a spring in our step, because there’s so much going on at the bookshop this month that we barely know where to start. We’re hugely looking forward to hearing from Andrew Hussey on his bold and fascinating new book, The French Intifada, a timely interrogation of France’s complicated relationship with its Arab citizens and its former colonies. The following week, fans of Bukowski will have a chance to share their favourite lines at a special evening celebrating his worktwenty years after his death. And we know how deep your passion flows for all things Hemingway here, so we can’t wait to present novelist Naomi Wood on Mrs. Hemingway, a brilliant, tender portrait of the writer through the prism of the four women who married him. We’re also very excited to have the great Dave Eggers visiting us for a signing and, later in the month, Hanif Kureishi to enthrall and scandalize us all talking about his latest novel, The Last Word.Finally, and just because they’re so lovely, we’d like to share with you the ten winning love-steeped lines from our Valentine’s Day quotes competition…

“I ask you to pass through life at my side – to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“Each time you happen to me all over again.” – Edith Wharton, The Age Of Innocence

“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss where I can not find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!” – Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“May your sky always be clear, may your dear smile always be bright and happy, and may you be for ever blessed for that moment of bliss and happiness which you gave to another lonely and grateful heart. Isn’t such a moment sufficient for the whole of one’s life?” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, White Nights

“We were together. I forget the rest.” – Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

“What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free, and the tame heart that wants to come home. I want to be held. I don’t want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at nights. I don’t want to tell you where I am. I want to keep a place among the rocks where no one can find me. I want to be with you.” – Jeanette Winterson

“Doubt that the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar but never doubt I love.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet

“If you live to be a hundred I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I will never have to live a day without you.” – A. A. Milne,Winnie the Pooh

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” – Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

(If you do not see the image, click here to view it)Sylvia Beach (second from right) with a bandaged Ernest Hemingway and two shop assistants, outside the original Shakespeare and Company on rue de l’Odéon (Copyright Princeton University Library)(If you do not see the image, click here to view it)A double rainbow over Notre Dame (Photo by Milly Unwin)March Events Most events take place upstairs in the library (30 seats), on the ground level (50 seats), or outside in front of the bookshop. During the events, the sound from the readings anddiscussions is projected around the entire store. We recommend you arrive 15-30 minutes early to try and get a seat as there is limited space.Wednesday 5th March 3pmChildren’s Hour – music, rhythm, and stories for kids. Bring your children (2-6 year-olds, siblings welcome too) to the library at Shakespeare and Company for an hour of music, songs, and stories in English (for all nationalities, even those who don’t speak English). Led by the magic Kate Stables, mum and singer/songwriter from This is the Kit, this lovely event hasbecome an institution. There will be instruments to play and a lot of noise to make! Four euros donation appreciated.

Due to space restrictions, we ask that you try and email Kate atkatestables@gmail.com to confirm your place, and also that each child is accompanied by only one adult where possible. Thanks, all!

Wednesday 5th March 7pmPhilosophers in the Library presents…

Defining the Problem of Tomorrow’s Memory: Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age

The concept of collective memory is now well-established within the contemporary cultural heritage sector. It is in the name of memory, and the future of memory, that a case for the preservation of heritage collections is being stated with increasing urgency, and digital technologies are perceived as presenting new opportunities for sharing and providing access to cultural resources. However, these technologies also disrupt that sense of historical continuity integral to collective memory by recoding the historical timeline as a relational database and making chronologies subsidiary to search terms.

This presentation will touch on philosophical debates about collective memory and the discourse of history in the context of the cultural heritage sector, tracing the influence of digital technologies and reflecting on the broader societal and political implications for memory in the digital age.

Liz Stainforth is a PhD student in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (University of Leeds). Her research considers the ideological significance attributed to memory, understood as a form of national or transnational inheritance, in relation to cultural heritage digitisation projects. Previous roles at the University of Leeds Library have involved project work with the Digital Content and Repositories Team, Special Collections, and the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery.

Thursday 6th March 8pm”Many writers, having written a first best-seller, might see it as a nice way to start a career. He started a movement instead.” – Time

We’re delighted to announce a book signing with the dazzling Dave Eggers.

Dave Eggers’s most recent novel is the critically acclaimed critique of the internet age, The Circle. He is the author of six previous books, including A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award, and Zeitoun, winner of the American Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His novel What Is the What was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and won France’s Prix Medici. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which operates a secondary school in South Sudan run by Mr. Deng. Dave Eggers is

the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine, The Believer:, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries, Wholphin, and an oral history series, Voice of Witness. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he cofounded 826 Valencia, a non-profit writing and tutoring centre for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centres in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, DC. A native of Chicago, Dave Eggers now lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Margaret Atwood’s NYRB review of The Circle

A short Q&A with Dave Eggers onThe Circle

Monday 10th March 7pmWe’re very excited to present Andrew Hussey on his timely and provocative new book, The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and its Arabs.

To fully understand both the social and political pressures wracking contemporary France – and, indeed, all of Europe – as well as major events from the Arab Spring to the tensions in Mali, Andrew Hussey believes that we have to look beyond the confines of domestic horizons. As much as unemployment, economic stagnation, and social deprivation exacerbate the ongoing turmoil in the banlieues, the root of the problem lies elsewhere: in the continuing fallout from Europe’s colonial era.

Combining a fascinating and compulsively readable mix of history, literature, and politics with his years of personal experience visiting the banlieues and countries across the Arab world, especially Algeria, Andrew Hussey attempts to make sense of the present situation. In the course of teasing out the myriad interconnections between past and present in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Beirut,

and Western Europe, The French Intifada shows that the defining conflict of the twenty-first century will not be between Islam and the West but between two dramatically different experiences of the world – the colonizers and the colonized.

Andrew Hussey is Dean of the University of London Institute in Paris, a regular contributor to theGuardian and The New Statesman, and the writer/presenter of several BBC documentaries on French food and art. He is the author of The Game of War: The Life and Death of Guy Debord (2001), and Paris: The Secret History (2006). He was awarded an OBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list for services to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and France.

This event will be chaired by Marie Doezema, a journalist with over ten years of reporting experience in the U.S., France, Japan, and Qatar. She is currently based in Paris, where she works as a correspondent for various international publications and as a teacher of journalism at the Sorbonne.

An extract from The French Intifada

Monday 17th March 7pm“In my work, as a writer, I only photograph, in words, what I see. If I write of ‘sadism’ it is because it exists, I didn’t invent it, and if some terrible act occurs in my work it is because such things happen in our lives. I am not on the side of evil, if such a thing as evil abounds. In my writing I do not always agree with what occurs, nor do I linger in the mud for the sheer sake of it. Also, it is curious that the people who rail against my work seem to overlook the sections of it which entail joy and love and hope, and there are such sections. My days, my years, my life has seen up and downs, lights and darknesses. If I wrote only and continually of the ‘light’ and never mentioned the other, then as an artist I would be a liar.” – Charles BukowskiMarch 2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of Charles Bukowski’s death. What a perfect excuse to praise one of the greatest, most honest, most controversial American poets and novelists who ever lived. You’re all invited to come on stage and share your favorite poem or lines. We will also be lucky enough to have with us French writers and Bukowski fans Christophe Donner and Pierre Mikaïloff.

The event will be chaired by Alexandre Guégan, who recently translated More Notes of a Dirty Old Man into French for Grasset. And there are even rumours that we will be joined by the author himself…

Tony O’Neill on Bukowski in theGuardian

Friday 21st March 7pmSpoken Word London host (and ex-Tumbleweed extraordinaire) Pat Cash presents a short selection of the Fag Ash Monologues, three ten-minute windows into the worlds of disparate characters in modernBritain, including Patricia Primarché, the cheap drag queen, $harkface $ally, the venomous PR woman, and Vinnie, the boring boyfriend. Performed by Pat Cash, Milly Unwin, and Tom Hodges.Sunday 23rd March 7pmWe’re delighted to present Hanif Kureishi on his witty and brilliant new novel, The Last Word.

Mamoon is an eminent Indian-born writer who has made a career in England – but now, in his early 70s, his reputation is fading, sales have dried up, and his new wife has expensive taste.

Harry, a young writer, is commissioned to write a biography to revitalise both Mamoon’s career and his bank balance. Harry greatly admires Mamoon’s work and wants to uncover the truth of the artist’s life. Harry’s publisher seeks a more naked truth, a salacious tale of sex and scandal that will generate headlines. Meanwhile, Mamoon himself is mining a different vein of truth altogether. Harry and Mamoon find themselves in a battle of wills, but which of them will have the last word?

Hanif Kureishi was born in Kent and read philosophy at King’s College, London. His 1984 screenplay for the film My Beautiful Laundrette was nominated for an Oscar. His short story ‘My Son the

Fanatic’ was adapted as a film in 1998. The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel and was produced as a four-part drama for the BBC in 1993. His second novel was The Black Album (1995). The next,Intimacy (1998), was adapted as a film in 2001, winning the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film festival. Gabriel’s Gift was published in 2001 and Something to Tell You in 2008. A short story collection,Collected Stories, was published in 2010. Hanif Kureishi has also written non-fiction, including the essay collections Dreaming and Scheming: Reflections on Writing and Politics (2002) and The Word and the Bomb (2005). The memoir My Ear at his Heart: Reading my Fatherappeared in 2004.

Hanif Kureishi was awarded the C.B.E. for his services to literature, and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts des Lettres in France. His works have been translated into 36 languages.

Observer interview with Hanif Kureishi

Monday 31st March 7pmWe’re very happy to present Naomi Wood on Mrs. Hemingway – the story of the most famous writer of his generation and the four extraordinary women who married him.

In the dazzling summer of 1926, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley travel from their home in Paris to a villa in the south of France. They swim, play bridge, and drink gin. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous and irrepressible Fife. Fife is Hadley’s best friend. She is also Ernest’s lover. Hadley is the first Mrs. Hemingway, but neither she nor Fife will be the last. Over the ensuing decades, Ernest’s literary career will blaze a trail, but his marriages will be ignited by passion and deceit. Four women

will learn what it means to love the most famous writer of his generation, and each will be forced to ask herself how far she will go to remain his wife. Luminous and intoxicating, Mrs. Hemingwayportrays real lives with rare intimacy and plumbs the depths of the human heart.

Naomi Wood was born in 1983 and lives in London. She studied at Cambridge and at UEA for her MA in Creative Writing. Originally from York, she has gone on to live in Hong Kong, Paris, and Washington DC. Her first novel was The Godless Boys.

Rave review of Mrs. Hemingway in The Telegraph

Rave review of Mrs. Hemingway in The Observer

The Bard-en-Seine ReadingsThroughout 2014, in honour of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, we’re hosting the Bard-en-Seine Readings. The goal is simple: to revisit and celebrate some of Shakespeare’s most loved plays. So, once a month, we will be hosting informal read-throughs in the library, which will be recorded and sent out as podcasts in this very newsletter (see below for February’s reading of Romeo and Juliet), so you’ll all be able to share in the theatrical fun.

For March, the play will be The Tempest and the reading will take place on Thursday 20th at 6pm, in the library.

If you’d like to take part, please email Milly Unwin atmilly@shakespeareandcompany.com, and tell her whether you’d prefer a larger or a smaller role. Parts will be allocated on a first-come first-served

basis, and we’ll let you know a week in advance of the reading whether you have a role. No preparation necessary, and we’ll provide the scripts. Please note that, due to space restrictions, the Bard-en-Seine Readings will only be open to those taking part.

The allocated plays for each remaining month of 2014 are as follows:

April – King Lear
May – As You Like It
June – Henry IV (Part 1)
July – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
August – Othello
September – The Merchant of Venice
October – Hamlet
November – Twelfth Night
December – Anthony and Cleopatra

Please check the newsletter and website each month for dates and times, and details of how to apply.

Podcasts from Recent EventsMaggie O’Farrell on Instructions for a HeatwaveMargaret Drabble on The Pure Gold BabyLouise Doughty on Apple Tree YardJoanna Walsh on Fractals, with Lauren ElkinBard-en-Seine Reading: Romeo and Juliet Staff and Tumbleweed PicksCapital by Karl MarxMy grandmother was a communist and as punishment for putting sand in my cousin’s sandwich, she made me read a chapter of Marx out-loud every Sunday for several months. At first, it was the book’s politics that stirred me – I started boycotting the local sweet-shop, knowing there was profit in rhubarb and custards. Recently though, it has been the book’s style – its incredible giant panache – that has delighted me. I encourage you to put sand in a cousin’s sandwich. – Ben AAll Russians Love Birch Trees by Olga GrjasnovaWe all are foreigners, aren’t we? Foreign to countries, languages, the relationships we live in, foreign to ourselves. So is Masha, this book’s main character. Twenty-something, independent, hair-trigger temper, a beautiful woman, graduate in translation, speaking five languages, likeable – she has everything she needs to start a successful adult life, but yet this is only the beginning of her difficult path to self-identification. An immigrant from Azerbajian, living in Germany, from a family with Jewish origins, surrounded by other outcasts, Masha is desperately trying to fix the feeling of not belonging she has been dealing with since she was a child. Set in Baku, Berlin, and Israel, this story is about how love and politics become one in Masha’s life. Harsh, witty, and very compelling, All Russians Love Birch Trees is a debut novel and a promising start to Grjasnova’s writing career. – KarolinaA Man in Love by Karl Ove KnausgaardThe second book of six. The third, Boyhood Island, comes out at the end of March, so make sure you are up-to-date with Knausgaard’s life and musings. I finished this epic in a whirlwind and am now thirsty for more. Read of Knausgaard’s move to Stockholm, of love and hate and family, and what it means to have a pencil in your hand. As one reviewer said “even when I was bored, I was interested”. Surprisingly addictive. – ThosOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia MarquezIn a world where angel-like, too-wise-for-the-world girls ascend into the sky on a warm afternoon, where the blood of murdered men runs along the streets, Marquez is king. Time to rediscover this jewel of Latino-American literature, which depicts the history of Macondo, a small Colombian village, through the different generations of the Buendia family. With a restless humour, the author embraces everything life and human beings seem to be about. The diversity of themes he tackles is only matched by a baroque style that distils magic within reality and leaves the reader to catch his breath when the last page is turned. Then, the real solitude begins. – Jean-BaptistePortions from a Wine-Stained Notebook by Charles BukowskiThis is a pretty rad collection of columns, short stories, and essays that Bukowski wrote for magazines, including some of his (in)famous Notes of a Dirty Old Man. There is a lot of humour in these never-published-before gems. You might even learn a thing or two on what it takes to be a writer, a poet. You might hear of William Wantling for the first time and fall in love with his poems. You might want to beat the racetrack. And if you read it carefully, you will get that the dirty old man was in fact an angel in disguise. – Alex GPoet’s Pub by Eric LinklaterBeer and books. Saturday Keith, aspiring young poet, takes over the Pelican Pub. Cue a cross-country car-chase, farcical romantic mishaps, and P.G Wodehouse-esque quick quips. A comical portrait of life as we wish it had been in upper class 1920s Britain. – AimeeFurther Literary TidbitsMavis Gallant’s Spanish DiariesA Dramatic Reading of James Joyce’s Filthy Love LettersThe North-West London Blues by Zadie SmithThe Beautiful Magazines Proving Print Isn’t DeadCan Beauty Help Us Become Better People?James Wood on Not Going HomeThe Universal Shapes of Stories According to Kurt VonnegutWilliam Shakespeare: The King of Infinite SpaceWhy Are Books About English Grammar So Popular?George Packer on Amazon in The New YorkerThe Last Word “We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
– The TempestJoin Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter @Shakespeare_Co for daily shop updates, event announcements, and general bookshop-in-Paris notes.

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My Writing Journey

For the next few weeks I will not post my regular Sunday post due to other commitments. I will, however, when time allows post  details of my writing journey.

Keep reading, treasure words  and keep writing!

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Speaking from the Heart by Joan Grant

 
I speak by email with Jane Lahr, a spiritual person, who was a great friend of Joan Grant. Jane is the daughter of Bert Lahr who played the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz , 2014 is the seventieth anniversary of this wonderful film. I have a connection to this film in that my daughter first ‘trod the boards’ with a local reparatory group, when she played the role of Dorothy, and  also with Oz being a name we use for our own country of Australia the connection is double; what more lovely song in all the world is there than Somewhere over the Rainbow and also the lesser known song,  Evening Star. Jane Lahr is the editor of The Celtic Quest, An Anthology from Merlin to Van Morrison (Welcome Books)a window into a world of magic, mystery and adventure. It is a beautiful book, richly illustrated, which illustrates the beauty, diversity and craftsmanship of Celtic art – including paintings, drawings, metalwork and photographs. Each image is selected to enhance the literary selection it accompanies. It includes literature drawn from the works of William Butler Yeats, and many more writers and poets.  Structured according to the Celtic lunar calendar, The Celtic Quest is divided into three sections: Song, Sword and Star. Song: reveals the Celt’s deep reverence for nature, Sword: reflects the passage of time, and Star: focuses on the Druidic beliefs in reincarnation, shape-shifting, and shamanic practises. Jane Lahr is the editor of Searching for Mary Magdalene: A Journey through Art and Literature (Welcome Books) and coeditor of the best-selling anthology Love: A Celebration in Art and Literature (Stewart, Tabori and Chang). Continue reading

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The Sleeping Wood

Fairytales are magical, I loved reading them as a child, and now I enjoy them as an adult. The below is from a book I have long loved.

‘Ah, it was lovely in the Sleeping Wood with the budding trees all around, and you with your secret thoughts flowering so that it seemed you held a posy in your hands! And in the middle of an ash grove, where the long sun rays fell slanting, the prince of her dreams came cantering on his snowy steed with shining armour and a red plume flaunted . . .  Only when the dazzlement had gone from her eyes it turned out to be no more than Patrick Creegan, the miller’s boy, on a shaggy donkey, and both of them dusted white with mealies.’

I can see a moral in this story . . .

One of my favourite poems to share with you:

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

William Butler Yeats 

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore:

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

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Phases of the Moon

Phases of the Moon MoonPhases

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From Bianca’s Garden

a2 Photo: Bianca Washington

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March 1, 2014 · 8:55 pm

My Writing Journey

A good writing week, this is because I have sorted out a few problems with the plot and now have an arrow to the end of the story. It means more work and war scenes which are not the easy to write but I will approach them from a different angle and see how they turn out. Not a lot to tell you about the writing process this week as it seemed to fall into place without too much difficult. I wouldn’t say the writing sings but I am enjoying it. The number of chapters of my WIP (work-in-progress) that I had last week have been thrown out the window and I am writing the novel (as per my new outline) in eight parts and any number of chapters…the rigid format of trying to fit everything in to a strict format of chapters just didn’t work for my novel. I am also working on my collection of short stories of which I will write more in the coming weeks.

Have a good writing week, best Elise

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