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My Writing Journey

These last few weeks I have been away. First to Rye to a beach house, a place to write and read, without the intrusion of television or the Internet. Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit was played in the evening. Talk and wine flowed easily enough. The beach was a place to walk and meditate.

I was reminded of Sandy Cape a bay on the Indian Ocean in Western Australia. Each year that I lived on an inland farm we went to the coast. Most evenings we would go fishing. Pulling on our warmest clothes to walk from the shack, it was only a few moments along a stony track to the beach. We heard the ocean before we saw it and smelt the moist salty aroma drifting to us on the breeze. Fishing  from the beach was the perfect end to a perfect day. Along the beach, every man and his dog it seemed had the best spot. Chairs were placed carefully, for experts leave nothing to chance. We carried our catch back to the shack in a plastic bucket. We would clean the fish outside under the stars, scattering iridescent scales onto the sandy ground. Reflected in the flowing luminescence of the kerosene lamp they looked  like tiny lunar mountains. A little oil on the barbecue, a dusting of flour and the fish were soon sizzling. We often went for long walks along the beaches that edged the coast. A blissful time.

After Rye, we went  to the city of Adelaide, often forgotten, but very beautiful. We stayed a week, walked ten to fifteen kilometres a day and absorbed the surroundings by osmosis.

It was then back to writing when I returned home. I edited the second chapter of my novel again, a chapter that has always been a problem for some reason. I’m happy with it at the moment and will now put it aside. There was a lot in that chapter: a couple meeting, marrying, and then the intrusion of an American serviceman.

I enjoy reading short stories, can you guess which story the following comes from? I’ll give you a couple of clues: it is the opening of the story and the writer is from New Zealand. This is one of my favourite short stories.

‘Very early morning. The sun was not yet risen, and the whole of Crescent Bay was hidden under a white sea-mist. The big bush-covered hills at the back were smothered. You could not see where they ended and the paddocks and bungalows began. The sandy road was gone and the paddocks and bungalows the other side of it; there was no white dunes covered with reddish grass beyond them; there was nothing to mark which was beach and where was the sea. A heavy dew had fallen. The grass was blue. Big drops hung on the bushes and just did not fall; the silvery, fluffy toi-toi was limp on its long stalks, and all the marigolds and the pinks in the bungalow gardens were bowed to the earth with wetness. Drenched were the cold fuchsias, round pearls of dew lay on the flat nasturtium leaves.

A writing tutor might say, ‘Look, this writer uses “paddocks and bungalows” twice in close proximity’, the tutor might also say, ‘Look, this writer uses the words “just” and “was”  words best avoided,’ the tutor might also say, ‘and the writer uses “big” twice in this small example and it’s such an uninspiring word’.    And yet to me this is evocative writing, a truly beautiful description of an early morning by the sea.  So while you need to be aware of the rules of writing if you write for the  modern day reader there is no need to slavishly follow each edict so that your writing ends up like a dried out piece of fish.

Have a good writing week, Elise

PS Remember to have FUN.



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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

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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Rosa Praed (1851-1935) 19th Century Literature

Our Australian landscape is filled with Gothic imagination.

 Rosa Caroline Praed. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 118008

Rosa Caroline Praed –  John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Women trapped in marriages with unkind and sometimes violent husbands is a theme that Rosa Praed returns to repeatedly. She was one of early Queensland’s most important writers. A member of the squattocracy, she came from a socially prominent family with interests in both literature and politics. Her unhappy experience of marriage is reflected in her work.

While not strictly Gothic novels, the three novels  Rosa set on Curtis Island, An Australian HeroineThe Romance of a Station and Sister Sorrow, are pervaded by the oppressive isolation of the bush and trapped women.

More than half of her 45 to 50 novels are set in Australia, but most of her life was actually spent in England where she developed a writing career and achieved celebrity  in literary and political circles.

She also had an interest in spiritualism.  It emerged in the unhappy early days of her marriage on Curtis Island and it increased in her later life. Her novel Nyria had its genesis in seances and Rosa believed that Nyria, a Roman slave, was reincarnated in her companion Nancy Haward.

Rosa Praed’s novels portray much of her own life.  It is impossible to read, for instance, descriptive passages in any of the three novels set on Curtis Island, An Australian HeroineThe Romance of a Station and Sister Sorrow, without feeling the oppressive isolation of the bush that she experienced there. Anyone looking down today, from the bare hill on which Monte Christo homestead stands, or approaching Curtis Island across the Narrows in a small boat would see the same desolate scenes as Rosa Praed, and the same endless mangroves ahead. Similarly it is impossible to read her novels portraying unhappy marriages without reflecting on the sadness within her own marriage.

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Gothic Magic

I have an interest in gothic literature. I will post about the gothic in future posts. There is something about crumbling houses, dark family secrets and gloomy castles, that I love. I have set part of my WIP (work-in-progess) in a castle. Gothic genres are often set in Australia in the twentieth century and beyond.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón was born in Barcelona and is the author of The Shadow of the Wind, the most successful novel in Spanish publishing history after Don Quixote. Translated into more than 35 languages, it has been read by over 12m readers worldwide.

Mention the gothic and many readers will probably picture gloomy castles and an assortment of sinister Victoriana. However, the truth is that the gothic genre has continued to flourish and evolve since the days of Bram Stoker, producing some of its most interesting and accomplished examples in the 20th century – in literature, film and beyond. Ours is a time with a dark heart, ripe for the noir, the gothic and the baroque.

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My Writing Journey

I have had a good writing week. I now have twelve chapters and it feels right. The writing is good in some chapters in other chapters I need to make them sing. I had advice from a writer I met recently and it has helped to make the story flow.
Needless to say I worked hard for most days.
Last night I went to the city of Melbourne with a new friend, she is an art curator and
explained  the history of White Night. It started in Paris, which is my
favourite city, and France of course is which is a country I love, well perhaps Egypt comes first! We parked near The Willows a restaurant in St Kilda Road and caught a tram to the city. We saw
wonderful light shows and our beautiful buildings were lit up and magical.
There were about half a million people and the going was tough to get through the crowds.
But the feeling and togetherness of the crowds of people made up for this. I spoke to my
daughter this morning, told her I didn’t get home until after three this morning, and
she too had been at White Night with her family, although I didn’t know they had
decided to go. Her comments were exactly how I felt about a wonderful community event.
I was very lucky to be with someone who knows so much about art and is an artist
and sculptor and a teacher and curator of art. A good night but I’m sorry,
because of the crowds (well-behaved and friendly) we didn’t get to see as many
of the art exhibits as we wished.
My son is off to Paris in June, to Spain and other climes! My small granddaughter’s
favourite place (although she has never visited) is Paris, she tells me she feels a connection.
Perhaps her uncle will bring her home a gift from Paris, and also something
for her brothers. My oldest grandchild is now taller than his mother, a handsome
and engaging young man, and his brother is the light of everyone’s life! How blessed
we are with family and good friends. Remember, today tell someone you love them,
and friends of the heart are family too!
Enjoy your writing week, best, Elise.

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My Writing Journey

I continue the re-writing of my WIP (work-in-progress) and some chapters are now second or third drafts.  I have decided to cut my  point of view characters from four to three or possibly two. I will let you know how I go with it next week.  My novel follows a duel narrative structure which gives texture and depth to my story, ensuring the reader never tires of the one storyline. Both narratives are written in the third person but there is always the option to write one in the first person although it is not something I plan to do. I haven’t heard from the editor who has my manuscript From the Heart.

Have you read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran? AE George Russell wrote:

‘I do not think the East has spoken with so beautiful a voice since the Gitanjali of Rabindranath Tagore as in The Prophet of Kahlil Gibran, who is artist as well as poet. I have not seen for years a book more beautiful in its thought, and when reading it I understand better than ever before what Socrates meant in the Banquet when he spoke of the beauty of thought which exercises a deeper enchantment than the beauty of form . . . I could quote from every page, and from every page I could find some beautiful and liberating thought.’

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

(Part of the verse on marriage)

Have a good writing week,  Elise

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My Writing Journey

This past week, I spent some days writing, some days editing and some days with my family. I have made progress since I printed out the whole manuscript of my WIP (work-in-progress) of course not as much as I would have liked. I’ve had no word from the publisher who is going to read ‘My from the Heart’ manuscript but I’m confident she will get to it eventually.

Cliche’s to avoid in writing:   A single tear that runs or trickles down someone’s face, the character who is ‘worried sick’,  anytime the ’chips are down’, anything ‘on the brink’ of something, anyone who ‘takes pride’, is ‘bored to tears’, or anything/anyone who ‘lurks’ , I once wrote about shadows lurking in the corner of a room!

There are hundreds of cliches and because a lot of them are from the twentieth century or earlier they sound old-fashioned; it’s best to avoid them in dialogue, although one or two might add colour and ‘set the scene’.

Enjoy your writing week,



Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

Can’t read, Won’t read!

Ekaterina Botziou is a friend. This article is about people in the UK where she lives. Ekaterina is funny and wise and beautiful and comes from the heart.


Filed under What Elise Wrote

Anais Nin and Henry Miller

Lovers and always friends

“Anaïs, I don’t know how to tell you what I feel. I live in perpetual expectancy. You come and the time slips away in a dream. It is only when you go that I realize completely your presence. And then it is too late. You numb me.
This is a little drunken, Anaïs. I am saying to myself “here is the first woman with whom I can be absolutely sincere.” I remember your saying – “you could fool me, I wouldn’t know it.” When I walk along the boulevards and think of that. I can’t fool you – and yet I would like to. I mean that I can never be absolutely loyal – it’s not in me. I love women, or life, too much – which it is, I don’t know. But laugh, Anaïs, I love to hear you laugh. You are the only woman who has a sense of gaiety, a wise tolerance – no more, you seem to urge me to betray you. I love you for that.
I don’t know what to expect of you, but it is something in the way of a miracle. I am going to demand everything of you – even the impossible, because you encourage it. You are really strong. I even like your deceit, your treachery. It seems aristocratic to me.”
Henry Miller (A Literate Passion : Letters of Anais Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953

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Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote