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Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Here be monsters

There's a downside to everything. The silver lining has a cloud in tow. A grey, damp blanket of misery to smother the sunshine.

Nanowrimo is no exception. Feelings run hot and high in the writing community, for and against.

I started my first attempt, and "won" in 2012. As I charged blindly into a place I'd never thought I would go this blog post landed on the internet. NaNoWriMo; The Good, The Bad, and The Really, Really Ugly

An entertaining and thoughtful piece on both sides of the coin. It's worth talking the time over.

I don't want to put anyone off, just a better idea of what lies ahead. Knowledge is power. Better to be realistic than see illusions dashed and dreams broken.

Would it have made a difference to me, if i'd seen it? I don't know, really.

The desire to know if "can I do this?, could be rearranged into "I can do this!" Probably would have spurred me on.

Martyn



Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Gets late early!


Gets late early!

l heard what she said and knew what was meant by it. Getting late early was the evenings drawing down towards night as summer drifted from the solstice to the equinox and beyond. A slide that quickened once the August Bank holiday had been ticked off. 

The battle begins.  Goblins versus Elves.
Hallowe'en ranged against Christmas.

We're into October and the lines are drawn.

Come what may, when the smoke clears and the rattle of firecrackers has faded into the stil dark november nights, the guy in the red coat will be the last man standing.

Ghosties and ghoulies, long legitty beasties. Gunpowder, treason and plot!

Plot, time to start plotting again, the clock is ticking. Damn thing never stops, just once if it could give me a minute. Stop, and a chance to get organised.

Any chance I could deploy the fall back in daylight saving time too my advantage?
Probably not

It can't be done, no stopping,  it marches on.
What can be done?

Batteries charged, pencils sharpened, notebooks refreshed and brain in gear.

  The empty page looms out of the night, on the first and haunts you for the next thirty.

The game is already in play. Do it, or not? Plough into the fray or cheer on from the boundary?

I'll let you know.

Stay safe, and fare well.

Martyn



Saturday, 18 September 2021

Hold the phone!

Hold the Phone!

Everybody's doing it these days!

Not in the way it originally came to be.

It goes back to the days when reporters phoned in their copy.

Stop, wait, hang on a minute.

A sign that something new is coming, a new twist on an news item, or bigger, a Stop Press.

Not really have anything to stop the press with, except a reflection. 

The last post was World Book Night, back in April, 23rd.

With the best intentions I hoped to settle into regular blogging, every couple of weeks.

Life, it has a habit of fouling up plans. The days of lockdown drawing to a close with promises of Freedom Day (1, and 2, and we all know how that turned out).

April slid into June, July and August
Bank Holiday. The last blast before the schools and Universities start the new academic year. Now September is careering along.

To get back on track, the best of intentions hit the brick wall of reality, and important things needed my attention. So now, no promises.

The post will go up when it's ready unfettered by a timetable or calendar, unless the calendar kick starts an idea.

In the meantime, stay well, stay safe, and good luck.

Martyn




Friday, 23 April 2021

World Book Night '21


Coming around, going around, with a Shakespearean twist of calling on a triumvirate for inspiration, courage and resolve through difficult times and challenges. World Book night, the Feast of St George and the birth (and death) day of Wiliam Shakespeare.

I hesitate to mention Shakespeare, a name like that can be a block on what follows. It is here because today is his birthday, and curiously the day he died. The birthdate appears to be tradition, rather than substantiated, various sources give his date of baptism as the 26th of April. The 23rd may not be wide of the mark, infant baptism is an ancient tradition in English culture and provided for in the Books of Common Prayer, initially in 1549 and the book which accompanied the authorisation of the King James Bible. 

Concerns about the health and well being of the child would have prompted the familiy to baptise quickly and for many, like William, the baptism would be a default record of the birth, without recoding the actual date.

Records of the day would be penned into a convenient book. Baptism, marriage and burial listed chronologically until the system became more organised and separate books were required, and onwards to the present system where the records are pro forma. Date of birth included.

Greater changes were under way in Shakespeare's lifetime, in his late teens, the process began to switch Europe from the Julian to the Gregorian calender.

France, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain changed in 1582, Austria and the Catholic German states in 1583.  Ten days were removed from the calendar. England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, Canada and the colonies (including the American Colonies) finally made the switch in 1752, and lost 11 days.

The  change over took almost three hundred years, Turkey being the last country to change in 1926/27, and 13 days dropped off the calendar.

The intricacies are fascinating, and the oddities, Sweden and Finland celebrated a 30 day February in 1712 with a double leap year.  Sweden's calendar had dropped the leapday in 1700, and an additional day in 1712 brought them back in line with the Julian calendar. They made the switch to the Gregorian calendar a year after the United Kingdom.

Life must have been interesting in Germany with the Protestant and Catholic areas working with different calendars within the same country, for decades at a time!

Consolation? Whatever is happening with the current state of lockdown, or whatever the current regulations permit, there is only one calendar, however disconnected I might feel from it!

If you have the time, check out what's on offer on World Book night, or maybe plunge into Shakespeare?

Stay safe

Martyn

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Going Live


Ebook week's alive. 

Reminds me of Brian Blessed in Flash Gordon,  with his famous exclamation at the durability of the eponymous Hero.
"Gordon's alive!"

It's with us again, Read an Ebook Week is upon us, check out the offerings at Smashwords or your favourite ebook distibutor.
Open the door, have fun

Martyn

Thursday, 4 March 2021

World Book Day





 A quick one today,  check it out and enjoy, find a challenge, a delight, an old favourite or a new treasure. World Book Day is with us again. I'm investigating with Poirot, digitally. E book on Aldiko from Project Gutenberg.

Have fun


Martyn

Monday, 1 March 2021

Notebook, not E Book


Here we are again, standing on thr brink of Read an E book week. The calendar flagged up the notification, 7th to 13th March, 2021. Annually, the first full week of March.

Twelve months ago, I posted about it, gave a heads up for the links to Smashwords, and the dedicated page on the site. 

I'm a fan of digital, as much as the traditional, hard copy format of the book.

The technical advantages of the ebook are balanced by the aesthetic of the paper version. Softback, hardback, whatever the actual size and format the physical aspects possess what the virtual can never hold. 

The image at the head of this post captures something of the last year, and gave me the answer to a question. the series of posts exploring the notebook, with emphasis on the traveller's notebook and it's lookalikes. I knew the answer, sort of. The timing was curious. The picture of the eReader tucked neatly into the pocket, and the hardcopy struggling to fit caught the mood of the day.

Digital, everything has taken a digital angle in the last twelve months, working from home, and Zoom, or Teams, Hookups, Whatsapp, etc.

Life traded the physical for the virtual, and is poorer for it. Arguably necessary, under the circumstances, but poorer nonetheless.

Sight and hearing have been overloaded, sated beyond their normal capapcity, yet smell, taste and touch have suffered neglect.

The confinement brought out a strain of creativity to satisfy the needs. Baking, gardening, art, anything that can be touched, smelt, tasted.

The notebook, the trigger, brought with it the unmistakable characteristics of real leather. Following the process to completion was a balm. A confirmation, of a primal urge, to touch, to explore the texture of an object.

An idea, drawn from the virtual into the real world.

Suppressed by lockdowns and social distance the primal urge, expressed by a fingerprint on recently dried paint, the irresistible desire to touch found an outlet.

So here's mine, all my own work, including the Inserts, with a bought clip and the ubiquitous Jotter pen.

Have fun with whatever you're doing.

Martyn