“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James
Some years ago, I published a book, Loving Imogen, in which one of the characters, a photographer, says this: “A photographer is by virtue of what he does, and these days I really manage to do very little at all.”
Consider these three different scenarios: 1. The hero of a Regency romance stalks into a drawing-room and greets his bewildered valet with the words “What’s up, dude?” 2. A generally well-researched novel set in Mediaeval Europe has a scene in which the protagonist gets out of bed and puts on his underpants. (Underpants, so I’m… Continue reading The Dreaded A-Word
One of the good things about living in Italy is the general consensus that, from June onward, the weather is much too hot and sticky to keep students locked in school. By now, then, school is well and truly out, and the once-crowded school corridors are a spectral place of lone cleaners mopping the floor… Continue reading The Living is Easy
I sometimes swear I’m caught up in some kind of bizarre Dr Who-style time-bending experiment. I don’t know what’s happened to the space-time continuum, but it just doesn’t seem to be functioning as it once did. I can remember a time when the temporal gap between one Christmas and the next lasted for about –… Continue reading Time, Dr Who, and Writing – or Not, as the Case May Be
Recently, while tapping away at a work-in-progress, I hit the buffers. The ideas that once seemed fresh and exciting began to look dull, and the words that once seemed so alive suddenly became leaden, lifeless artefacts. Matters weren’t helped by the fact that I was beginning to sense a looming deadline – not, I should… Continue reading The Importance of Play
A wee confession: I have a soft spot for clichés (and before anyone points out that this too is a cliché, I know). They interest me, not least because many of them are just so effortlessly right. A howling wind? That nicely sums up the feral, primal intensity of the wind on the (also-clichéd) dark… Continue reading Clichés Must Die. Or Must They?