Blogs

Nibfest, Tunisia, and Cork-Lined Rooms

For a moment there it looked like spring had sprung, but today the famed English weather has returned to London. Is it harder or easier to write when the sun is in? I am torn between the inspiration of the solitary, introverted winter's morning, seeing the cold dawn in with a steaming cup of coffee and my notebook before setting off for the office - and that totally different sort of pleasure when the mind is freed to dream up narratives while...

The First World War BBC 4, produced and directed by Corinna Stummer and based on Hew Strachan’s book.

I was a strange kid, there was nothing I liked more than The World at War . I even liked the music. There is no greater compliment than this ten-part series was just as good, if not better. Last night’s episode, ‘War Without End’ was another stonker. It started where it left off last time. Four-long years of war and no end in sight. The Germans had been on the offensive. They had broken the trench stalemate on the Western front and gained ground...

Doris Lessing (1994) Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography to 1949.

Doris Lessing is one of those authors I kept meaning to read. Her father was an officer wounded in the Great War and her mother the nurse that nursed him, rather a romantic ideal, but reality often knocks spots off those kinds of notions. Her great love was killed before she could marry him and he’d lost a leg, well, they had each other. Then they’d a loan from the land bank and a failing farm in Southern Rhodesia. She was upwardly mobile,...

L'assommoir, by Emile Zola

Drink addiction does the working class no good. As true now as in the 19th Century when Zola wrote his tragi-comic epic, the title has sometimes been translated as The Pub or Dram Shop. Posh folks can also sometimes suffer from liver failure and permanent damage to the brain and motor system however they may be more able to get up in the afternoon without getting sacked. At the start of the story Gervaise and Coupeau are in love and have their...

Editing in the Hills, A New Competition and Easter

Happy Easter, all. I hope you’ve been enjoying the sun and a little extra time to your own devices. I’ve taken a few kilos of writing up into the Cumbrian hills with me, and have been alternating between editing other people’s work and trying to get my own notes and jottings and half-formed scenes into some kind of order. It’s a good weekend for resurrections. Michelangelo's take on an age-old theme If you haven’t heard the news, we’ve just made...

Introspection

I sporadically write a blog. It's often on writing topics, or my writing in general. This time I got a bit on the deep side. If you want to see past posts, you’ll find me at www.lisahinsley.weebly.com

100 Years On – An ABCtales Competition

I’m glad to make a call for entries to ABCtales’ latest prose and poetry competition, 100 Years On . 2014 marks the centennial of the First World War — and ABCtales will mark that occasion by inviting writers to incorporate the event into their work. There’s no set way that the war should be treated - pieces do not even need to be directly related to the war in any way - but we do ask that there is at least some mention made, however...

DIARY OF A FAT OLD DRUNKEN FUCK! 3

27 April 2014 Definition of PAP 1 chiefly dialect : nipple , teat 8am. I doubt that you've taken much notice of 2 Popes going to Rome one of them Pope von Ribbentrop, to anoint Pope John as the patron saint of little boys nipples: my first thought was, 'where's a sniper when you need one?' Jeez, 2 popes in one hit, they'd probably make him a, um, a saint! OK, just for the sake of feminism it could be a hit woman. If I'm a womaniser and I am,...

Thatcher and the IRA: Dealing with Terror.

Thatcher’s strategy for dealing with the IRA was shaped by Airy Neave, former British Army officer, barrister and politician. It was a simple solution best summed up in the words of Rev. Ian Paisley: No Surrender to the IRA. Mrs Thatcher’s colleagues suggested she thought of it in terms of Hitler’s march into the Sudentan and as a staunch Unionist she could not allow this. The analogy between Thatcher and Hitler is perhaps a bit too farfetched,...

Janice Galloway (1999) The Trick Is To Keep Breathing.

The title comes from a fragment near the end of the book and relates to swimming and life. Joy, the narrator, is a twenty-seven year old schoolteacher. She teaches drama, but in life she keeps fluffing her lines. She’s not quite sure about anything and, in this her first book, the experienced reader looks for clues to Galloway’s identity. Joy has got an older sister (Mhari) she’s terrified of. So does Galloway. Check. Her mother walked into the...

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