Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Elephant's farewell

Today I was watching a documentary on animal migrations. The subject was elephants in Mali. They and many other animals were crowded around a rapidly drying out lake when a calf was born. Sadly underweight and weak, it died after a few hours while its mother and grandmother tried to shelter it from the heat. A week later the little corpse had completely dried out leaving shreds of hide and exposed bones and the herd, scenting rain in the south, was preparing to move out. Before they left though the entire herd gathered around the remains. With extraordinary delicacy and gentleness they each touched and lifted the bones and one even rubbed the skull over its cheek. It was one of the most profoundly moving things I've ever seen. It reduced me to tears - not a common occurrence. After watching that I was convinced that the arrogant human presumption that we are the only ones who love and whose hearts can be broken is just that - arrogant- because if that was not an expression of love I don't know what love is.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RIP Elisabeth Sladen

I was genuinely saddened when I saw this morning that Elisabeth Sladen had passed away. She played Sarah Jane Smith, one of the Doctor's companions, in Dr Who for three and a half seasons.

Female Doctor's companions tended to be the girl who had to be rescued. Not Sarah Jane. There was no putting her in a box and expecting her to stay put. She may have done a fair bit of screaming - I probably would have done the same in some of the situations she ended up in - but then she got herself organised and did what had to be done. This often involved doing exactly what she was told not to by the many men around her. Sometimes she was right, sometimes wrong but it was always her choice. What a role model for a young woman in the heady early days of feminism.

Much of this character development comes down to the actors. They may be given the lines but how they deliver them is what actually makes the character come alive. Elisabeth Sladen made Sarah Jane Smith into a vibrant, real person. That's quite an achievement.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Oh my. It's just dawned on me that Swancon (combined this year with Natcon Fifty) will already be underway by this time next week. For the program go here.

There's a great line up of guests too. You can find the guest lists here. I've just had a look and it includes Ellen Datlow, Justina Robson and Sean Williams, Glenda Larke, Jonathan Strahan, Juliet Marillier, Bevan McGuiness, Lyn McConchie, Nicole Murphy and Mary Victoria. That's quite impressive. It's going to be a fantastic weekend. Hope I see you there.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Literary Agent Blogs

I'm so glad I subscribe to Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents blog. Apart from information on established agents it provides lots more. It introduces new agents, notifies of agency closures, interviews writers at all stages of their careers and has articles on how to hone the dreaded pitch, cover letters and so much more, often reminding me about something I've forgotten as well as great new information. There are giveaways too.

This link came into my Inbox yesterday. Among the blogs are some I already follow - Rachel Gardner's Rants and Ramblings On Life As a Literary Agent and Kristen Nelson's Pub Rants - but others were new to me. They are all now on my list of blogs to follow on a regular basis.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Income Streams

Tansy Rayner Roberts, a writer and blogger I enjoy very much, usually blogs at Stitching Words, One Thread at a Time but she has been on what she describes as a slapdash blog tour to publicise her new book The Shattered City. One of her stops was at Egoboo WA and she has listed some of her other guest blogs here and here.

One that particularly interested me was at The Journeyman Writer where she describes the ups and downs of a writer's life. The first advice given to anyone who sets out to be a professional writer is often 'Don't quit your day job'. You don't have to be around this business too long before you realise that full time, professional writers like J. K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyers and Stephen King who make squillions and get big advances are the exceptions. Most writers make their livings in a combination of ways - writing, teaching, corporate work etc.

Having just read this post I came across something similar at John Scalzi's blog. It confirms just how erratic a writer's income stream can be. It's a lesson we all need to bear in mind, I guess, because for many writers the business side is something we would rather not think about too much - and we should.

Apology: I completely messed up my links here. They are now corrected.