Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Good bye and thank you

Dear Readers, blogging is not my thing, it was a University requirement to extend my skills and contacts, and for that I have to thank them. The exercise has helped me clarify my objectives regarding how I want to present myself online so future manifestations will be under the pen name of Susan Farrell-Lewis. I will post up the details as it happens so watch this space......

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Work in Progress: Women of the Sun Stones.

Hi all

hopefully back in action after a bit of a break.

The introduction to my book: Women of the Sun Stones, is now on the web page.

Looking forward to feedback.


Monday, 21 March 2011

'Too many disconnected facts.'

Do you know that thing were you open a bible at random and read the first thing you see? You may be experiencing a problem, and the thing you read gives you the answer to the problem, or comfort or guidance. I am sure this is not exclusive to Christianity, I am sure if any person of any faith applies the same principle, then they will get a similar result. I had this experience today, not with a bible or any other faith book, but with Katherine Swift’s ‘The Morville Hours.’ I am busy reading this, and Annie Dillard’s ‘Pilgrim At Tinker Creek,’ and I have started Mary Chamberlain’s ‘Fenwomen,’ and scanned W.G.Sebald’s ‘The Rings of Saturn,’ and I nearly forgot Edmund De Waal’s ‘The Hare With Amber Eyes.’ As well as this I have half a dozen reference books on the go; and there have been a number of TV programmes that I should really have made notes through. Then I committed to writing a reflective dairy, and whilst I was doing this, lots of other things popped into my head that I should be writing down in case I forgot. And then there is all the stuff I had picked up on the internet during the year in relation to my writing idea. Oh and did I tell you I got a new camera? Just about anywhere I go round home is worth photographing; the Mourne Mountains and the shores of Carlingford Lough have infinite possibilities and the image can either be an inspiration for writing or painting.

The books are mostly within the genre of nature writing/non-fiction/life writing; and I have been told this is the type of writing I am doing. I got the life writing ok but I had never really thought about nature writing; what on earth is that anyway? Well I have to find out. I’m not writing about wild life, I’m not David Attenborough, or Jacques Cousteau; but my landscape contains stories, specifically about women. In this part of the world there’s bits of stones in interesting places, some natural , some fashioned, like Celtic cross and a cairn, linked to the women and away my imagination goes; so this is nature writing, go out the door and see what you can see, there’s probably a story. Annie Dillard wrote from a creek, Katherine Swift from her garden, Fenwomen, of course is about women, The Hare with Amber Eye’s is about family and The Ring of Saturn is a journey through East Anglia and Seabald’s head.

Then there’s my head; I opened The Morville Hours today to read: ‘ I shall go mad. Too many disconnected facts and too few answers of my manic phases...’ Ah, it’s not just me. I feel better already.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Millennia Women Research Diary


    I love this word, I love the look of it, I would love to use it in the title of my book. The working title of my book is Millennia Women. Look up millennia; this is a good word too. Visually Mná does it for me. Can you imagine walking into Waterstones and there on the ‘hot’ table is a book with Mná on the cover. I do believe it’s intriguing enough to make you pick it up.
     The word is dangerous. It is dangerous in three respects, and I may increase this number. It is dangerous first of all for me because it is an Irish word and my knowledge of the Irish language is nonexistent. But I like a bit of danger. Do something dangerous every day I read somewhere. I know this is not to be taken literally. I think it just means challenge yourself and that’s a good argument for anyone, but let’s stick with the word for now. So I have to be exactly right in its meaning and usage. Online Irish dictionaries revealed nothing. The only reference I could trek down on the net was Government documents. So it must be an Irish word that is not in common usage. I have arranged time with an Irish language development officer to figure all of this out. She knows of a song with the word in it, so I am encouraged.
     If you are English speaking and you are on holiday in Ireland you will see this word on the toilets, and if you are a man you will be forgiven for thinking you know where you are going. Equally if you are a woman, you will see ‘Fir’ so again you may be forgiven that this somehow or other relates to female. Mná is plural for woman or ladies, and Fir is gentlemen. I hope I have got my first Irish lesson right. The danger here is whether the word only therefore link people’s minds to unfortunate experiences in toilets. Or maybe I worry too much.
     The next danger it reveals how our minds try to make sense of something by taking it to where we are coming from. I love how this word about women looks like it is closer to man. And I love that the meaning of man is somewhat confused. Most people consider man to mean humans of the male gender. However if we go into the etymology of the word in previous centuries it meant ‘human.’ Visually mná shares this confusion, but I expect to find its etymology is quite different.
     So will I use Mná in the title? Will I take a measured risk and jump in the deep end? It gets deeper. I am standing north up the coast from the Cliffs of Moher.  Have you been there? Nearly 400 feet above the sea. There are whales close in and the water is prussian blue. Does this mean the seabed drops down as far as the cliffs go up? What else is going on down there? How deep is a word? 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Nature Studies: Re-branded, coming out as a nature writer.

Nature Studies: Re-branded, coming out as a nature writer.: "Nature writing is well loved and established in the US. Attitude towards anything that smells of nature in the UK condemns the writer to the..."

Re-branded, coming out as a nature writer.

Nature writing is well loved and established in the US. Attitude towards anything that smells of nature in the UK condemns the writer to the woolly socks in sandals brigade.This is a bit unfair given the popularity of TV shows, just about every night, on the subject of nature, and the books that go with them. And aren't some of best loved poets nature writers, Seamus Heany, Ted Hughes, and Dylan Thomas.So I'm joining the club. I love the outdoors and I love the 'sense of place' that's just on your own doorstep.You don't have to travel far to find out about the nature of people, the world or the universe, just go out the front door. I make no apologies for being a nature writer. And I think people who love reading anything that comes within this universe, and who may be accused of being sentimental should not have to make any apologies either.