Sunday Supplement – 2

Brains are funny things. At least, mine certainly is. Asked to provide a short bio for someone (Laura, the editor of Braided Way, who has asked to reblog my post Winter – 3), I seem to freeze up in terror. It feels a little like trying to promote my books or my paintings – this ‘blowing my own trumpet’ doesn’t come easily to me. I feel reticent and more than a little embarrassed. I just find it hard to write about myself, unless disguising myself as a character in a story. In the end, I forced myself to make a list of bullet points of things I thought should go in, and then sort of joined up the dots. It still makes me feel awkward, though. Am I the only one who feels like this? Some people certainly seem particularly good at it, whereas I always feel anything like that I have to write like this seems trite and inadequate, yet also pompous.

My talented friend Mark Prestage who made the superb prints for my poem Viking, which we published as a zine (I still prefer the word pamphlet), also produces prints to grace the covers of cds for the band Yellow6. The latest one, Days is pictured below.

Yellow6 is described as ‘…the solo project of British guitarist Jon Attwood. Yellow6 has at times been described as post-rock, minimalist, electronica, ambient… the reality is that Yellow6 has some similarity with each of those genres but is not so easily definable, using aspects of drone, repetition, melody, harmony, noise and silence to create absorbing soundscapes to drift off into.’ Mark also took the photos gracing the insert of the CD, such as this one:

I got a copy of it last week and have been listening to it constantly.

I finished reading My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk – which I’m so glad I returned to, with a thoroughly satisfying conclusion – and then went for something completely different. I’m now reading H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. I bought this about a year ago, and hadn’t got around to reading it, partly wondering whether it had been over-hyped. After all, surely a whole book talking about someone training a goshawk would be somewhat boring, right?

Wrong. Totally wrong. In the words of the cliche, I could not put it down. The goshawk is a real character, who looms out of the book larger than life (see the cover!) dominating Helen’s life in the same way she dominates the picture.

n.b. Reminder to self. ‘Arty’ photographs are all very well, but several of them all together can look pretty naff…

And how is my writing going? I’m so glad you asked. Plugging away at A Good Place, still. And it probably will not surprise anybody one jot to hear I’ve decided to weave a couple of extra strands into the plot, which will naturally involve quite a bit of extra writing.

You might be forgiven for thinking I never want to finish the dratted thing…

Finally, I put up the last part of ‘Winter’ last week, and for my next post I think I should put up something a little, well, warmer and more cheerful! So probably a re-post of one of my Indian posts, one from a few years back that my follower may not have already seen. And perhaps I’ll tweak it a little.


20 thoughts on “Sunday Supplement – 2

  1. An interesting post, Mick, with lots of variety. I think some people find self promotion very difficult because of their upbringing. The English are brought up to be very reticent. I have had to put myself out there because of my job so I make myself do it. It doesn’t come naturally to me either.

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  2. I’ve never heard of Helen MacDonald, but the cover of that book would be enough to attract my attention and tempt me to pick it up.

    As for brains, I experienced a couple of difficult (though not permanently damaging) events in the past few days, and it’s been interesting to note how “scrambled” my brain has become in the aftermath. It’s not serious, but things I never do, like leaving the oatmeal on the stove too long, have me going behind myself to make sure I’m still functional. I have no doubt whatsoever that as many people are suffering mentally and emotionally because of the pandemic and lockdown as are suffering from the virus itself. That’s not at all a judgment on decisions that have been made: only an observation about the inevitable results.

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  3. I have delayed reading H Is for Hawk for reasons similar to yours, Mick, but so many people have raved about it, and you just tipped the scale, so now it’s on the list. I know what you mean about writing self-promo. If it bores me to write it, it will surely bore a reader to read it. I wonder if anyone would believe I am an archeology professor/treasure hunter/scholar/adventurer. Oh, wait, that’s Indiana Jones….

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    1. I do, but it generally has to be instrumental as I would get distracted by words. Ambient or classical especially – like the Yellow6 CD here, the Belbury Poly CD mentioned last week (with added bed-milk…) fits the bill. The exception to this rule is choral music such as Thomas Tallis or John Taverner, when the individual words get lost in the music.

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