Love has more stuff in it!

Today, I took part in a workshop with children’s author Kate de Goldi, during readers and writers week at Founders Park. This event was part of the Nelson Arts Festival program. It gave me a lovely warm feeling to see so many readers and writers and literary types, lunching, learning and listening all  around the park. It feels good to be living in Nelson when we have treats like this bestowed upon us.

Kate de Goldi writes for children and young adults, and the workshop focused on getting us to see through a child’s eyes. This is a useful approach to take for all fiction, and its a good way to approach many aspects of life. Looking at something as if for the first time, especially something you take for granted, like your hand, for example, can be enlightening and even mind-blowing. In their innocence children can make some very profound statements about life, which are so sharp and pure that they shine in the more gloomy and muddy world of grown ups. I particularly love this page from a book called I’ll Be You and You Be Me by Maria Popova and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. The book was first published in 1952, long before Where the Wild Things Are, but Sendak’s illustrations are no less delightful.

Kate read from several vintage children’s books from the 1950’s onwards, and I was reminded of how much less patronising children’s authors were back then. In the days before everything became way too politically correct, children’s literature was a far more interesting and exciting place. When my children were young, I read them vintage books and found some new favourites of my own in the process. I found most modern books too icky for words. They would get very  upset when I refused to read them books with titles like Bunny in the Bathroom because I could not bear the bad writing, but it certainly hastened the process of their learning to read themselves!  I am happy to say that all of my kids now write, have great imaginations and cannot stand bad writing. Sometimes you just have to be cruel to be kind.

I hope that things will start to turn around in the world of children’s literature and people will realise that all this PC stuff is probably doing more harm than good. This is especially true for kids, who only learn prejudice and judgement from adults. Until then, I shall stick to reading the older books, and I will soon have plenty of chances, with a very unexpected new generation about to bless our family!

I will leave you with a favourite book of ours, written in 1912 :)

There is a great post here about this book, which shows many of the covers, both good and bad over the years.

The New iPoe

What better way to get yourself in the mood for the haunting season than by reading Edgar Allan Poe?

The answer is:  iPoe

iPoe is an interactive app for the iPhone and iPad featuring some of the author’s best known works, including The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat.

The app is interactive, has suitably eerie sound effects, and dark and gloomy artwork. You can not only turn the pages, but you can leave blood stained fingerprints on them! The are bodies to dismember and dark lamp lit corners to delve into. One page I read is just like trying to read a book under the covers by torchlight, you have to manoeuvre the torch to the part of the page you want to read. All this to the sound of a dead mans heart ticking away louder… and louder… and…louder. As well as the stories you get a glimpse into the pages of Poe’s sketchbooks, and you even get to colour some of the images which I found very satisfying for some reason.

Here is a wee taster:

I have Volume I but there is also a Volume II out now, which I just noticed at the App store.

I am not a gamer, but have recently been studying scriptwriting for games, and it’s a fascinating world. The iPoe app is a kind of bridge between a game, and a well illustrated eBook. I hope the publishers keep running with this until we have his complete works in this format, so if you do love Poe…please take a look. App designers can only provide what they have the funding for, and imho this is definitely worth supporting.

I can’t help but think what it would be like to see these animations on one of those massive 80 inch screens, complete with 3D glasses. On second thoughts… maybe not, I would probably end up being driven insane, just like the killer in the story of The Tell-Tale Heart.


The Card Dealer

Since I first sang the Christmas carol: In the Bleak Midwinter,  I fell in love with the words of Christina Rossetti. Later, while studying art at grammar school, I fell in love with the paintings of her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. I recently discovered a wonderful Rossetti Archive online,  which is dedicated to his work. While browsing through the a book of Rossetti’s poems, I came across a poem by Dante entitled  The Card Dealer. Dante’s poem was inspired by the painting shown below, a work by a 19th century British artist, Theodore Van Holst. The painting is entitled The Wish, but has also become known as The Card Dealer after the title of Dante’s poem.

As I am studying writing, art and the Tarot, I had to share these finds here.  You will be hearing more from me on the Rossetti siblings…

“The Fortune-Teller” (1840) by Theodore von Holst
“The Fortune-Teller” (1840) by Theodore von Holst

Copyright: Browne, Theodor Von Holst, 102