Friday, February 25, 2011

Plans for 2011

No matter how hard I cup my hands time slips through my fingers.
Yesterday, when I should have been painting I travelled to Australia and back. I am reading Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. This is my second attempt to read it. It was first recommended to me by Meg Rosoff as a book that I would love. She said if I did not she would eat her hat so I begged a copy from David Fickling Books with a promise to review it. And I did love the way it was written, but somehow became tangled in the pages and the book sort of spit me out. I couldn't settle to it and found it too disturbing. And then I put it aside and moved on. 
Tender Morsels haunted me for a while, and also the fate of Meg's hat. Should I make her a cake shaped like a hat, I thought? Lucky for Meg Marilyn Brocklehurst came to her rescue. When I told her that I could not get on with Tender Morsels she looked at me as if I were quite mad, one of those ' oh for goodness sake' looks and thrust another copy of the book into my hands. In a kind of gently threatening way she said 'read it'.
Now I find that I am lost in the pages in the right way, burning the candle at both ends of the day, immersed in the beautiful language and strange structure of this outstanding piece of fiction that rumbles with echoes of Angela Carter. Brilliant. It is strange how sometimes we are haunted by books and sometimes we cannot settle to read and the fault is often with us rather than the book and somehow it hunts us down and chases us into a corner and demands TO BE READ.
I'm sure Meg's hats will be breathing a sigh of relief and crawling from dark places in her house sure and certain that they will not be consumed.

So, in a moment of work avoidance off I wandered to Margo's Blog. Now I am excited, for this year she is publishing a Selkie novel!
One of her posts talked of the work she has on this year. That pulled me up sharp to thinking, so, here goes:

 1. The Cat and the Fiddle, finished and to be published in Autumn this year.
2. I am Cat to illustrate.
3. East of the Sun, West of the Moon to work on small decorations and a few double spreads.
4. A secret project of great delight and difference for someone or something wonderful.
5. Little Dragon Small and the Search for Story- rough drawings to gather.
6. A gathering of words for new short novel, set in Venice.
7. Art in Action in July at Waterperry Gardens.
8. Various school visits, to Hertfordshire, Paris, Lake District and Norfolk ( must remember to say NO to any more)
9. Odd paintings here and there for the pleasure of pushing coloured water around paper.
10. This years MBF card. Every year it gets harder to come up with something that works in what has become a series. Maybe this year they will re publish some of the old designs as a selection pack. Also may be working on notecards for them. Maybe more mug designs.
11. Update website, change front page, work on books pages etc etc......

And if that is not enough to keep me busy then I may find time to run away and join the circus.


  1. I often find books are like that. In fact I have a pile of " didn't quite take me the first time but I still really want to read it " books.
    Your list looks fantatically productive - I can't even make a list for a week!

  2. Don't get all cocky yet. We'll talk when you get to the end.

  3. I know it's going to be grim, Meg.
    I once read a book that upset me soooo much I never want to read it again, but I loved it too. It was one of the Boudica books by Manda Scott. Briliant series, awful happening. Never felt physicaly sick reading before.
    Scared now. But so wanting to get back to it.
    Have you read her blog? She got kicked off a 'best of ' list because of some of the reader's comments.

  4. I find that if I can't settle with a book I need to leave it for a while and then have another go. I'm often in the wrong mindset for it. I'm going to have to get hold of Tender Morsels now and read it!!

  5. Yep. Me too. I've bought books that looked fascinating, started reading them only to have them spit me out within a page or two. But, instead of passing them on, I somehow know to put them back on the shelf, where I will rediscover them at just the right time in my life when I needed to read them. Curious phenomenon. Never fails to give me a strange sensation when I realize it's happened again. Films/DVD's have done that to me, too.

    I may have to look out for the selkie one.

  6. That sounds an exciting list! I am intrigued by no.4... and after disapointingly missing last years Art in Action through illness I am determined I am going this year!
    I love your last parting statement... I hope it would be the kind of circus I imagine from your many paintings... whirling with strange, beautiful,colourful and exotic free spirits... I always hear music when I look at all your procession paintings, both for Can you see a little Bear and MBF's...