I hope you’re all safe and well, particularly with the recent news regarding new restrictions.
We are coming towards the end of another year and the Yuletide season is in full swing.
Like many other people, I’ve been reflecting on the last year and the sad losses of two of my favourite childhood authors, Eric Carle, who wrote The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Jill Murphy, who wrote The Worst Witch series. Thinking about their books got me thinking about childhood books and the stories I used to read to my niece when she was little.
My favourite Eric Carle book is The Bad Tempered Ladybird. When I was a child I loved this angry little insect who went around threatening every animal he met before declaring that they weren't even big enough for him to bother fighting before storming off.
When my niece was little, her favourite book was Are You My Mother? by PD Eastman. A sweet story about a baby bird who hatches in an empty nest before wandering off to find his mother, like Eric Carle's ladybird, the baby bird encounters several other animals asking each of them if they are his elusive mother.
The different animals made this book my niece's favourite, as I read in the different voices and created the sound effects associated with each. I have fond memories of reading to her now and this year has also brought my new nephew who I hope I can also make some new book memories with.
Reading to children is so important, for everything from developing curiosity, to giving them a way to see the world from someone else's point of view. Eric Carle's books are so special, with their bright colours, imaginatively shaped pages and cast of unique animal characters.
It's a very sad loss for children's literature, but while we keep reading his books to our children, the bad tempered ladybird will never get tired of picking fights and the tiny little caterpillar will always be very hungry.
Boss New Plays
I was delighted with our Boss New Plays performance on 6 November. It was lovely to work with Lantern Writers again, particularly the writer of my script, Joe Lewis, and our comedy was performed to a sold out house at Liverpool’s Royal Court studio. We received wonderful feedback and an amazing review, and I really hope that we can develop the piece more in the future as it would be lovely to work with both Joe and our very talented cast on it again.
I’ve also been reflecting over the last year on Sea Invisible, my newsletter about living with invisible disability. The latest issue looks at embracing your journey and moving on from things which are just not meant to be.
From the Body
I’m very happy to be appearing in this anthology exploring our bodies and the relationship we have with the food we give them. Creative non-fiction/non-fiction writings, curated and edited by Dr Charley Barnes.
It’s a Wonderful Life
I’m also really excited to be playing Mary in Formby Little Theatre’s It’s a Wonderful Life next January and February.
We’ve started rehearsing and it’s a great cast, a fun interpretation the story and a really lovely project to be working on.
Ghost story advent
I’m taking part in Ghost story advent again this year and you can find my entry for 7 December on my Facebook page. Keep your eyes peeled for my second entry coming soon!
What I’m reading
I’ve just finished The Vine Witch by Luanne G Smith. I then started Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen for book club, but could not get into it so have given up! Excited to see what will be in my jolabokaflod parcel, but am officially between books at the moment (pending reviews notwithstanding).
Things that have caught my eye
The 10:25 by Debbi Voisey This is the new novella in flash from one of my pending review writers (Only About Love was an unfortunate victim of my shoulder dislocation rendering my writing hand useless, but so far so good and review will be up soon!). In this book Train Manager, Malcolm is working his last shift, spending one last day with the people who’ve moved through his world and his train for years. Follow Malcolm through his train and catch glimpses of jilted lovers, unrequited teens, grieving sons, and hopeful romancers, together with the story of Malcolm’s family, and the most difficult thing he’s ever had to do.
Tongo Eisen-Martin, San Francisco Poet Laureate Performance This was a brilliant poetry reading which also contained some interesting insights into the creative process when writing poetry.
Women in Science Fiction A really interesting lecture about the role of women in speculative fiction and how women’s status as “other” has affected their portrayal in science fiction stories.
Medieval Monsters, and the Problem of Evil Another interesting lecture, this one explored the role that monsters play in the study of evil.
The Drunks I reviewed this for North West End UK and it was an interesting and enjoyable piece of theatre. Worrying relevant in today’s world, this is a thought provoking drama which makes you rethink today’s world.
The Curious Imposter Christmas Show This was a collection of five short plays, some funny, some heartbreakingly sad, all brilliantly performed. A refreshing change to the usual seasonal panto, this could easily be performed again during a less festive season with a few small changes. Writer, Ste Mc should be very proud of all that he has accomplished and can look forward to a bright future.
Stollen and lebkuchen! Tis the season of sweet German marzipan bread and delicious ginger biscuits that are so much nicer than English gingerbread men for some reason… I have so far eaten far too much stollen this month, but am still on the look out for lebkuchen. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!
Have a wonderful Yule and a very Happy New Year.
Speak again in 2022!